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  • Andrew Meiers

    November 11, 2020 at 6:59 pm

    This was taken yesterday afternoon.

    There is a different pressure on us at the moment , like many others, with the lack of workforce so we are aware we’re going to send some off for processing. We cannot get enough staff to pick our produce.

    I can note that after leaf tests, done every two weeks, making adjustments according to what is lacking, the results have been outstanding. By being able to explain in detail, how I feel about the texture and flavour of the fruit, we’ve been advised to give different nutrients, some very small, but very important in the whole plant nutrition cycle.

    Although not able to do foliar spraying due to lack of equipment, we’ve had to do nutrition management through fertigation. Given where we were with the same size plants a couple of years ago, eg. 2nd second season plants, we are more than pleased with the outcome.

    What I do think is remarkable, is the crop we are getting plants in the ground for less than two months. We are picking commercial quantities and it’s worth getting our pickers into the field, even if less often, the volume on our new field is outstanding.

    After listening to @john.kempf podcast which the name eludes me now – I hope John can remember and post it here, the story about the rice and how planting them further apart, and they grew that amazing crop, due to allowing less competition, we planted our runners a full 10cm (4″) further apart, made me think, what if we did this with the strawberries – would it work? We have so much crowding now due to so many crowns being produced in the second hear.

    It was a hard gig thinking that we are planting less in one field, but we also cut every runner individually, soaked the plants in buckets with a bacterial solution our agronomist suggested.

    Our fruit is actively sought by shops and there is trust now, particularly with the rich colour of the fruit, that it’s not ‘overdone’. The fruit holds well, travels well, has a beautiful shine, and an intense flavour to the point where people think we are growing something unique to us.

    So now, I don’t have to cringe a little on the inside when tasting first pick San Andreas which always seemed to be magnificent in colour, texture and size but having that sharpness in flavour. They almost, (almost I said) taste as good as the Albions. I’ve got some Monterays in for trial to see how they go.

    That photo also represents plants that are exposed to the elements, and get brutal 40 – 60 k winds on a regular basis. Since improving our nutrition, the plant vigour improved, no broken or ripped leaves that I could find, a little bit of marking on them, but they are champions in the field and tell me each time I go and thank them for doing their job.

    (They’re probably getting better fed than we are the moment.)