How Are
Strawberries Grown

How are strawberries grown, or produced--learn about the production of strawberries here.

How are strawberries grown?
How are strawberries produced?
Production of strawberries

There are two main methods of commercial strawberry cultivation:
hill cultivation and matted row cultivation.

Hill cultivation is primarily used in places where winters are mild. The plants grown this way are planted in raised "hills" of soil that are mulched with plastic and are watered using some form of drip irrigation. In this system, the plants are replaced annually (sometimes biennially) and any stolons (or "runners") that appear are removed, causing the plants to produce larger, higher quality fruit. This method predominates in some of the most productive strawberry regions, such as the states of California and Florida, as well as Spain.

Matted row cultivation is used with short-day varieties of strawberries in places where the winters tend to be quite cold. The plants are set into relatively flat ground, mulched with straw, and irrigated by sprayers. This system encourages stolons (or "runners") to form and start daughter plants, which in turn increases the number of plants contributing to fruit yields. Plants are only replaced every 3-5 years (when the plants become so old that their yearly productivity finally drops below economically acceptable levels). This method of cultivation predominates in the northeastern and midwestern United States.

Another method of strawberry production that has been the focus of a lot of interest for several years is hydroponic cultivation. The quality of hydroponic strawberries is just as high as strawberries grown in more conventional ways (perhaps even higher). And using hydroponics for strawberry farming also has a quite a number of potential benefits, including:

  • reduced water usage (due to more efficient water delivery);
  • reduced land requirements;
  • reduced need for pesticides and herbicides;
  • reduced use of fertilizers and other "soil" amendments; and
  • reduced manpower requirements for harvesting.

Besides lessening the environmental impact of farming, and the production of high-quality, organic strawberries, all of these benefits of hydroponics could make strawberry farming more profitable, too.

Nevertheless, hydroponics has remained a very minimally utilized method of production. Conventional strawberry cultivation remains economically viable at this time. Also, the initial time, training and money investments for switching to hydroponics are fairly substantial. As a result, many farmers simply don't consider converting their farms to hydroponic cultivation to be worth the current cost and effort.

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