February 25, 2018

End of the picking season care

To dismantle and prepare the area

Since the hardiness of these new day-neutral cultivars has not been determined for Minnesota, we are treating our system as an annual production system, meaning new plants are planted each year.  Therefore, we proceeded to remove all plants and the low tunnel system from our certified organic land.  Please note that part of the reason we had to remove the system was to maintain the integrity of the organic soil.  Since we are growing on a certified organic site, at the end of the growing season we are required to remove all plastic materials from the low tunnel system. 

Begin by taking off the clear greenhouse low tunnel plastic from the steel hoops, and remove the hoops from the ground.  Make sure to pull the steel hoops out of the ground PRIOR to freezing.  If you plan to install a low tunnel again next year, you will need to store these items properly.

To remove the white on black plastic, you need to pull out the strawberry plants first before removing the plastic.  This will allow you to pull up the white on black plastic in a large piece.   

Tillage to prepare the bed for next year

We set up raised beds with a walk way in between each bed.  For the next growing season, we are considering constructing the raised beds in the area where the walk way was so that the strawberry plants are not planted in the same area two growing seasons in a row.  In order to prepare this compacted walk way area to become a raised bed next season, you will need to do deep tillage on the compacted area.  Soil compaction can lead to several issues, such as not allowing the soil to drain; therefore, you must complete a deep tillage in the fall. 

Prior to starting tillage, you may want to consider incorporating composted material (we chose an organic material to meet the requirements of our certified organic land).  By adding the compost in the fall, essential nutrients will be available in the spring when most needed. 

The ground between the raised beds becomes compacted from the numerous trips through the field for picking

The ground between the raised beds becomes compacted from the numerous trips through the field for picking