Why do the East Side of My Strawberry Rows Have Way More Ripe Ones than the West Side? – Vegetable Crops Hotline

Why do the East Side of My Strawberry Rows Have Way More Ripe Ones than the West Side?

Plasticulture strawberry harvest has kicked off in southern Indiana. These plants went through a winter of temperature ups and downs and survived the unexpected frosts in April. Finally, it is harvest time!

This article’s title is a question from a grower. The straightforward explanation is that plants received more sunlight and warmed up faster on the east side, so the berries ripen earlier.

This question reminded me to review the considerations for row orientations. Although row orientation is not something we can change now, it helps us develop careful thought in planning for the next season.

  1. One should consider slope first in deciding row orientation. If the field has a slope, orient the rows across the slope, not along the slope. This will reduce soil erosion.
  2. If it is level ground, rows in a north-to-south orientation receive sunlight more evenly than east-to-west rows. More even sunlight means the fruit ripens more evenly.
  3. Another consideration for row orientation is the prevailing wind. From a disease management standpoint, the rows that run with the wind dry faster, reducing disease pressure than rows that block the wind.

In reality, there may not be a perfect solution. But understanding these considerations might help us make the best possible decision.

Happy Harvesting!

A plasticulture strawberry field in southern Indiana.

A plasticulture strawberry field in southern Indiana.

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