Evaluation of day-neutral strawberries in organic systems in Washington

Summary

Investigator: Patrick Moore, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, Puyallup, WA
Project location: Puyallup, Washington

Day-neutral cultivars allow the production of strawberries during periods when they are not usually available locally in the Pacific Northwest. For organic growers, who often rely on direct-to-consumer marketing, day-neutral cultivars can be an important crop. However, there are few day-neutral strawberries that are adapted to the Pacific Northwest, and their suitability to organic management is unknown.

Strawberries grown organically must be robust against pressures of disease and pests, and must be able to absorb nutrients efficiently from organic sources.

In this project, investigators will evaluate new and non-local day-neutral cultivars managed organically in Washington. Project objectives are:

  1. Evaluate day-neutral strawberry cultivars for organic production in the Pacific Northwest;
  2. Improve selection strategies for organic production; and
  3. Evaluate feasibility of growing day-neutral strawberries on a two-year production cycle in the Northwest.

Photo of Strawberry Field Days at the Puyallup Research and Extension Center.Cultivars will be evaluated for aspects of yield, fruit quality, overall vigor and disease resistance.

This is a three-year project. The planting will be evaluated during the establishment year 2009 and also in 2010 to observe the suitability for carryover into a second harvest year. Additionally, two to four cultivars with the most favorable evaluations during the first year of the replicated trial will be planted with collaborating organic growers and evaluated on-farm in 2010-2011.

A final report describing the results of this project will be posted upon completion.