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Growing Strawberries on YouTube!

January 31, 2014

It is hard to believe but today, Arkansas’ strawberry production is down to less than 1% of what it was during the Great Depression, and accounts for only a small fraction of the current national acreage.  For the past three years Dr. Elena Garcia and her group at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville have been working to revitalize strawberry production in Arkansas and the surrounding region and change this grim statistic.  Garcia’s group is studying production methods to extend the strawberry harvest season and produce local, high quality berrStrawberry-Flower-Fairy-Vintage-Printies using plasticulture under high tunnels.  The system appears promising for this region and during 2011 – 2012, the highest production season of the study, Garcia’s group harvested up to 2.25 pounds per plant (compared to 1.0 – 1.5 pounds per plant field production) from late fall through winter and into spring from the high tunnel plasticulture production system.  Every year is different though; this season with its frigid temperatures, is shaping up to be a much lower production year.

With funding from the U of A Division of Agriculture Research and Extension and the Walmart Foundation the project is expanding to include demonstration high tunnels, low tunnels, and field plots along with more methods of disseminating the information including a YouTube channel!  YouTube videos are available now for viewing and the list of videos will grow as the season progresses.  Among the videos now available are how to handle strawberry plugs once they are received at the farm, fertigation and irrigation for high tunnels, planting strawberry plugs in high tunnels, and laying commercial strawberry beds.

With strawberry production down to a fraction of what it was in the 1930’s, the Arkansas strawberry market is ripe for revitalization.  Extended season production using protected culture systems such as high tunnels could be the answer.  Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/user/revitalizingstrawber and visit the site often for more YouTube videos as they are posted over the following months.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Susan Frey permalink
    January 31, 2014 12:56 pm

    Reblogged this on Commercial Fruit and Nuts.

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