by SUSAN MANN
This year’s strawberry crop is looking better than expected considering “the weather that we’ve had,” says a spokesman for the Ontario Berry Growers Association.
Kevin Schooley says “some of the stuff I’ve seen is very nice.” In addition, he’s talked to various consultants and others who have seen many berry fields across Ontario and they’re saying most of the fields look quite nice. The plants have beautiful foliage and are healthy.
Even if the weather turns hot for any length of time the plants’ bigger canopy and larger foliage will help the berries tolerate the hot spells, he says.
Growers using row covers or day neutral production started harvesting strawberries about a week ago. But the main season for strawberries will start in about a week. “There will be a little bit more activity then,” Schooley says.
Compared to last year, the strawberry harvest is starting much later. But on average the harvest is close to average or just a day or two later than normal.
On parts of fields where the water doesn’t drain, the berries aren’t doing as well. But for the most part this spring’s cool wet whether has been good for the crop. “Strawberries tend to like to have lots of moisture especially when they come into bloom,” Schooley explains, noting the abundance of rain has made it challenging for growers wanting to complete their fieldwork.
But he says most strawberry fields are well drained. BF