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  • Andrew Meiers

    June 23, 2021 at 7:40 pm

    We are growing in plastic mulch um40. Currently there are three fields that have done two years of production and we are continuing them for another year. We are in a sub alpine environment, in Australian, 270m above sea level, laughably low by US standards.

    Our plants go dormant during the winter and we prune back prior to spring. The establishment of the environment for good growth and the huge cost of setting up the irrigation and plastic beds along with the compaction issues. Not to mention the cost of removal!

    As an insight into our production we grow 2 rows of plants in a 600mm ( 2 foot) bed, raised 300mm ( 1 foot) high, that’s just the height our plastic layer tunnel was designed to make.

    Apparently most growers only run one drip line in this style of bed.

    I always put two line in, our summers can be hot , we have been as hot as 47deg celsius, ( 116 deg fahrenheit)

    Watering in regular small doses to never let the strawberries go dry.

    We are quite primitive in that after the bed is made, the tractor never goes in that field until we remove them.

    I can see no reason why the third season will be an issue. Other growers do with diminishing returns from what i have gathered. If the plastic degrades and weeds become an issue then i think it will signal the end of productive life for the field. There are small areas where that has already been the case. Its our second attempt at going the third year. the first we only did the spring crop. I am seriously considering the complete season this time. Provided we can get enough pickers, a big problem in this country with our closed borders for internationals, Australia relies on tourist backpacker labour to harvest our fruit and vegetable crops.

    We grow day neutral varieties