Protected cultivation of strawberries in New Zealand
In New Zealand the majority of strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa) are grown in the field in soil using raised beds mulched with black polythene. The most important cultivar is the short day cultivar 'Camarosa', which produces good yields of large fruit in December. Regular pesticide applications are necessary (particularly fungicides to ensure freedom from fruit rots), and on small areas birds can be a problem. In the past two seasons we have undertaken two studies growing strawberries in a greenhouse in fully replicated and randomized trials. In the first study (2014-15) we compared the productivity of 6 cultivars in both a synthetic foam medium and coir medium. In the second study (2015-16) we used only coir slabs, and the 2 highest yielding day neutral cultivars from the earlier trial ('Albion' and 'Aromas'). In both trials we used predators to control pests, and from some 15,000 ripe fruit harvested had only about a dozen with fruit rots. No fungicides were applied. In the first trial over a 6-month harvest period the highest yielding cultivar ('Aromas') produced the equivalent to 120 t ha-1 (including paths). In the second trial 'Aromas' was also the highest yielding cultivar producing nearly 100 t ha-1 (equivalent) in the 1st 5 months of harvest. We anticipate a further 3 months of harvesting. The crop was grown using a table top system, so harvesting was greatly simplified. Detailed results including some of the difficulties of the protected cropping of strawberries will be presented.
Nichols, M.A., Duggan-Jones, D.I. and Christie, C.B. (2018). Protected cultivation of strawberries in New Zealand. Acta Hortic. 1205, 879-884
berry fruit, biological control, coir, foam, predators