FRUITING AND POSTHARVEST QUALITY OF THREE STRAWBERRY CULTIVARS AFTER FROST PROTECTION TREATMENTS
The three cultivars were planted through woven plastic mulch on 28 February 1992. Single raised beds, 1.9 m apart, were planted with double rows of plants in 20 x 20 cm staggered plant-plant spacing. Treatments were: control (no frost protection), rowcover (Kimberly Farms, 20 g/m2, on hoops) applied 4 March (Julian date 64), and ‘FrostGard’ chemical frost protectant (Custom Chemicides, Fresno, California, USA). The ‘FrostGard’ was applied according to label directions on 9 and 30 March (Julian dates 69 and 90), three days prior to potential frosts as predicted by the National Weather Service. The experiment was planted in a factorial arrangement, with each treatment replicated as four plots of 15 plants each. Number of fruit per plant was recorded and all ripe fruit were harvested three times per week. A severe hair storm ended the experiment on 15 May. Number, weight, and soluble solids concentration (SSC) of harvested fruit were recorded. Each fruit was visually rated as "1", "2", or "3" for shape and color, with a rating of "1" being the best. Fifteen to 20 fruit were placed in plastic vented dome-lid boxes and stored at 1C and about 98% relative humidity for two weeks. The fruit were weighed and rated on a scale of 1 to 3 for softness, disease, color, and calyx appearance after 7 and 14 days of storage.