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Monday, April 26, 2010

Strawberry season - fast and furious

We harvested our strawberry research plots at the Central Crops Research Station in Clayton, NC for the first time on April 24th and were amazed at how quickly the season is progressing. As the photo above illustrates, our plants are loaded with fruit, but don't have a lot of new blossoms. This means we will likely have high yields but a short picking season. This doesn't necessary bode well for our mite threshold trials, since populations just reached treatable levels last week. We will continue, however, to maintain our plants even as harvest wanes to allow for additional miticide efficacy data regardless of the length of the picking season.

We will be picking again this week, since all the white fruit above on Saturday are now ripe! You might also notice the runners appearing on the plants above. I was concerned about this over the weekend, but an update sent by Dr. Barclay Poling on Sunday helped address this concern. Dr. Poling suggested that just because plants are runnering (vegetatively growing) does not mean they are necessarily going to stop fruiting (reproductively growing). I hope this is true and we can stretch harvest out for a bit longer.

UPDATE:  We harvested again this past Thursday and Friday, and at about 4 lb on average per plot, we harvested about 272 lb of fruit.  We are collecting yield and quality (brix) data on these fruit  to correlate to mite densities and mite management regimens. Next picking: Late this week.

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