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How to Grow Strawberries the Organic W ay. Welcome. Canada’s Favourite Fruit. Canadian growers produce approximately 24,000 tonnes of strawberries, totaling sales of over $6,500,000 each year. Approximately 1% of these strawberries are grown organically. .

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Canada s favourite fruit
Canada’s Favourite Fruit

  • Canadian growers produce approximately 24,000 tonnes of strawberries, totaling sales of over $6,500,000 each year.

  • Approximately 1% of these strawberries are grown organically.


Why are strawberries the most popular fruit in canada
Why are strawberries the most popular fruit in Canada?

  • The average Canadian eats almost 5 lbs of strawberries per year

  • High in fiber, low in fat

  • Excellent source of vitamin C & Manganese

  • Contain anti-oxidants

  • Contain phenols, linked to reduced risk of osteoarthritis, asthma and atherosclerosis


Modern strawberries were first cultivated in France in the 1750s. They were produced by crossing sweet, flavourful Alpine strawberries with very large, less tender strawberries from Chile.

Strawberries are not really berries; they are related to roses. Since they are a hybrid, modern strawberries cannot be grown from seed.


Will strawberries grow in atlantic canada
Will strawberries grow in Atlantic Canada? 1750s. They were produced by crossing sweet, flavourful Alpine strawberries with very

YES!!


Considerations for organic production
Considerations for Organic Production 1750s. They were produced by crossing sweet, flavourful Alpine strawberries with very

Cultivation

  • Site Selection

  • Frost Considerations

  • Soil Preparation & Maintenance

  • Selection of Growing System & Variety

  • Cultivation Practices

Business

  • Start up and transitioning costs

  • Labour

  • Type of Operation

  • Marketing

Transitioning to Organic


Site selection
Site Selection 1750s. They were produced by crossing sweet, flavourful Alpine strawberries with very

  • Soil

  • Slope

  • Winter Conditions

  • Frost

  • Previous crops

  • Water supply


Frost protection can mean the difference between a bumper crop and no crop
Frost Protection 1750s. They were produced by crossing sweet, flavourful Alpine strawberries with very can mean the difference between a bumper crop and no crop

Risks year round

  • Early Frost -Plants blossom blossoms freeze

  • Late frost berries freeze or plants are damaged before dormancy

  • Winter frost crack plants


Frost protection site selection
Frost Protection - 1750s. They were produced by crossing sweet, flavourful Alpine strawberries with very Site Selection

  • Strawberries should be located on ground with some elevation so colder air will flow away from the berries and protect them from frost.

  • South facing slopes lead to increased frost damage as plants tend to blossom too early. Plants on west facing slopes are often damaged by strong, drying winter winds


Strawberry fact
Strawberry Fact 1750s. They were produced by crossing sweet, flavourful Alpine strawberries with very

The Algonkian Indians of north eastern North America identify and name the full moos based on natural cycles. The sixth moon in a year is the Strawberry Moon


The soil
The Soil 1750s. They were produced by crossing sweet, flavourful Alpine strawberries with very

“It all begins with the soil”

Rob Wallbridge of Songberry Farm, Bristol, PQ



Soil testing
Soil Testing and release


Ph levels
pH Levels and release

Soil acidity, or pH, affects a plant’s ability to take up and make use of minerals and other compounds.

Soil acidity partially dictates the levels of other nutrients necessary for strawberries to grow, develop roots, runners and fruit.


Soil fertility requirements
Soil & Fertility Requirements and release

  • Nitrogen

  • Organic matter

  • Minerals and micro-nutrients


Nitrogen
Nitrogen and release

Adequate levels of nitrogen are necessary for photosynthesis and the production of plant proteins and enzymes


N how much is enough
N – How much is enough? and release

  • Necessary at all stages throughout the year

  • 500 – 1500 ppm of Nitrate

  • Mineral content of soil and amount of organic matter

  • Too little - stunted growth low yields

  • Too much - lush growth, poor air circulation - disease


Organic matter
Organic Matter and release

Adequate organic matter is essential for the growth of healthy plants and the development of runners and fruit


Minerals micro nutrients
Minerals & Micro-Nutrients and release

  • Phosphorus

  • Potassium

  • Calcium

  • Manganese

  • Iron

  • Zinc

  • Boron



Strawberry fact1
Strawberry Fact and release

The 16th century English believed that a strawberry shaped birthmark was a sign of being a witch. Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry, had such a birthmark – one factor that led to her beheading!


Cultivation basics
Cultivation Basics and release

  • Field Preparation

  • Planting

  • Mulch

  • Irrigation

  • Renovation & Rotation

  • Pest Control



Preparing new fields
Preparing New Fields and release

Year 1

Late Summer / Early Fall

  • Plow

  • Test soil and adjust PH levels

  • Plant a winter cover crop (early September)

    Year 2

    Spring

  • Till in the fall cover crop

  • Amend soil based on soil test results

    Fall

  • Plant cover crops

  • Test soil

    Year 3

    Spring

  • Amend soil based on soil tests

  • Plant oats as early as possible

  • Till in oats & plant strawberries

  • Remove first blossoms (June bearing varieties)


Planting
Planting and release

  • Choose only vibrant healthy plants

  • Plant early or late in the day if the weather is hot

  • Keep plants in a bucket of water until planted

  • Soak in with compost tea or water

  • Pick buds off of June bearing varieties


Mulch and release


Weed control
Weed Control and release


How to control weeds
How to Control Weeds and release

  • Carefully prepared site and soil

  • Mulch or black plastic

  • Hand weeding

  • Weeder geese

  • Mechanic weeding

  • Thermoweeding


Disease control
Disease Control and release

Diseases may occur when one or more of the following factors are present:

  • Pathogens are present in the air, soil or new plants

  • Environmental Conditions are right

  • Variety

  • Susceptibility


Disease control factors
Disease Control Factors and release

  • Soil fertility and health

  • Drainage and irrigation

  • Air circulation

  • Mulch

  • Removal & destruction of diseased plants

  • Field monitoring

  • Sanitation

  • Foliar application of compost or manure tea


Pest control
Pest Control and release



Strawberry fact2
Strawberry Fact and release

The word “strawberry” comes from Old English. Some historians believe that the name comes from the centuries old practice of growing strawberries on straw mulch; others believe it is because the daughter plants are “strewn” over the ground.


Varieties and growing systems
Varieties and Growing Systems and release

June-Bearing

Everbearing (Day Neutral)

Alpine (Fraises du Bois)

  • Matted Row System

  • Hill System

“The perfect strawberry doesn’t exist. They seem to be very specific in terms of how well they do. Grow at least four varieties. Find out what you like, and what your customers like.”

John Wise, Centreville, ON




Alpine strawberries
Alpine Strawberries and release

  • Wild strawberries from Alps

  • Prized for flavour

  • Will grow from seed


Renovation or rotation
Renovation or Rotation and release

Rotate when yields become low, plants are diseased or weeds are out of control

Renovate when you intend to keep the same plants in production the following year.


Strawberry fact3
Strawberry Fact and release

The word “strawberry” comes from Old English. Some historians believe that the name comes from the centuries old practice of growing strawberries on straw mulch; others believe it is because the daughter plants are “strewn” over the ground.


Business considerations
Business Considerations and release

  • Start up and maintenance costs

  • Labour Costs

  • Marketing


Costs per acre to establish maintain fields
Costs per Acre to Establish & Maintain Fields and release

Cost to establish field over 1 to 2 years

(Including site preparation, plants, labour)

$2500 - $4000

Maintenance Costs per year

(labour, planted 4 years or more)

$6500 - $8000

Profit $2000 - $6000


The greatest variable labour
The Greatest Variable - and release Labour

What factors will affect your labour needs?

  • Weed pressure

  • Condition of the soil

  • Type of growing system

  • Type of marketing

  • Livestock for manure


Strawberry fact4
Strawberry Fact and release

Some people in Bavaria still believe that elves love to eat strawberries. They tie baskets of ripe berries to the horns of their dairy cattle as an offering to elves, and for assurance of an abundant supply of milk.


Marketing
Marketing and release

  • Farm Gate

  • Farmers Market

  • U-Pick

  • CSA

  • Wholesale

  • Value Added Products (jam, baking, etc.)



Cold turkey
Cold Turkey and release


Field by field
Field by Field and release



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