Overcoming climatic limitations: cultivation systems and winter production under assimilation lighting resulting in year-round strawberries
Strawberry production was determined by climatic conditions in the past. Extending the harvest period started by adapting growing techniques and developing new cultivation systems. This led in Belgium to a production from March until end of December. Lack of light availability limited winter production. Advancing the season to early February became possible, and this study focusses on filling the final gap of strawberry production in Belgium, by using artificial assimilation lighting. Three experiments were done in 2015-2016 to determine the harvest period and fruit quality. Two experiments with short-day cultivars under high pressure sodium lamps were done: the plant density of 'Sonata' is tested (2015) and 'Sonata' is compared with 'Clery' and 'Malling Centenary' (2016). An exploratory experiment with everbearing cultivars and different plant types under LED lamps was conducted. Two types of 'mini tray' plants and one type of 'plug' plants were compared for all cultivars. The experiments with short-day cultivars show it is possible to store tray plants for 10 months, planting in October and harvesting in January-February. In this way, a high yield of good quality strawberries was reached. The exploratory experiment indicates potential of everbearers in a winter production. Plug plants seem to be the most suited plant type for all tested cultivars, but more research is needed for optimization. Both winter production systems with assimilation lighting fill the final gap in winter, and results in year-round qualitative Belgian strawberries.
Van Delm, T., Stoffels, K., Melis, P., Vervoort, M. and Vanderbruggen, R. (2017). Overcoming climatic limitations: cultivation systems and winter production under assimilation lighting resulting in year-round strawberries. Acta Hortic. 1156, 517-528
Fragaria × ananassa, HPS lamps, LED lamps, artificial lighting, short-day, everbearer, fruit quality