Growing Procuce, an industry news site for “specialty crop growers”*, is very excited about research at UNH that uses tunnels and different varieties to greatly extend the berry-growing season in the Northeast.
They more than doubled the annual yield of strawberries and quadrupled the length of the New Hampshire harvest season by growing day-neutral varieties under low tunnels and on traditional open beds.
I had never heard of “day-neutral” varieties of plants, as contrasted with “short-day” varieties. Farming is really complicated.
I look forward to eating more tasty New Hampshire strawberries in cold months – mmmmmm. The project is part of a five-year TunnelBerry project.
*What’s a specialty crop, you ask? Like many things agricultural, it has a very specific definition in law: “Fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). Eligible plants must be cultivated or managed and used by people for food, medicinal purposes, and/or aesthetic gratification to be considered specialty crops.” To know more, click here.