September 22, 2017

How sweet it is: strawberries in October

Day-neutral strawberry harvest at the West Central Research and Outreach Center, Morris, began on July 26, 2016 for both low tunnel and non low tunnel treatments.  We harvested strawberries approximately twice per week until Oct. 6.  We experienced a season-ending frost on Oct. 7 with a recorded temperature of 26 degrees F inside the low tunnel.

Frost damaged flowers on Oct. 7, 2016

Frost damaged flowers on Oct. 7, 2016

This system continues to impress us with the opportunities it may bring for growers in the upper Midwest to increase the availability of strawberries during a non-traditional time of year.   The fruit quality remains excellent during the fall season.  We tested brix (sugar) levels on Oct 6, and measured an average brix of 12.24 for the low tunnel, and 11.17 for non low tunnel strawberries.  As a comparison, our June-bearing variety trial in 2013 had an average brix level of 7.6.  The higher the brix, the better the flavor and nutrient value.

Strawberries harvested on Oct. 6, 2016

Strawberries harvested on Oct. 6, 2016

Check back for further details, data, and information on our 2016 research trial regarding fertilizer treatments for day neutral strawberries.