HILLSBORO, Ohio - A strawberry production technique, new to Ohio, may prove to be an efficient, money-saving practice for growers.
Ohio State University researchers at the South Centers in Piketon are growing 10,000 strawberry runners, or tips, in the greenhouse. After the tips develop roots, the plants will be transplanted onto plastic in the field and harvested later in the fall.
"I don't know of anyone who is growing the tips here in Ohio. Even OSU researchers haven't done much work with this technique," said Brad Bergefurd, an Ohio State Extension horticulturist. "This is so new. We've only been working on this for 10 days, so we've got a lot to learn."
The project is just one aspect of university research that will be highlighted during the seventh annual Horticulture Field Night, Aug. 20 at Southern State Community College just north of Hillsboro. The event, which begins at 6 p.m. and runs till dark, wraps up the Ohio Fruit and Vegetable Young Grower Tour being held earlier in the day. Horticulture Field Night is free to the public, and will include more than 500 research and demonstration plots with 12 different fruit and vegetable trials.
Bergefurd said Canadian horticulturists employ the technique of growing strawberry tips in the greenhouse since cooler temperatures make way for less disease. "It's a more efficient way for growers to raise strawberries," said Bergefurd. "In addition, we've found that growers could potentially save up to $800 per acre by growing our tips. They don't have to rely on another plant company to provide them plants. When you are talking paying 7 cents per tip as opposed to 18 cents per plant, that's a good size chunk of change they are saving."
Bergefurd sees the practice, in conjunction with utilizing plasticulture, a good opportunity for strawberry growers. "North Carolina producers generate two and half times more yield with plasticulture than with the matted-row system," said Bergefurd, adding that North Carolina has a corner on the market. "Researchers report that there is potential to produce 30,000 pounds of berries to the acre, and even at a dollar a pound, that's good income for a small grower."
Insectide, herbicide and fungicide use; pumpkin diseases; Indian corn varieties; specialty melons; vegetable weed studies; heirloom tomato production; and composting are among other topics that will be discussed at the event.
The event is sponsored by the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), the OSU Extension Enterprise Center and the Piketon Research and Extension Center. For more information or directions, contact Bergefurd at (800) 860-7232, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting http://www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~prec.