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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Genetic Improvement for Fruits & Vegetables Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #387630

Research Project: Strawberry Crop Improvement through Genomics, Genetics, and Breeding

Location: Genetic Improvement for Fruits & Vegetables Laboratory

Title: Yield and nutrients of six cultivars of strawberries grown in five urban cropping systems

item RICHARDSON, MATTHEW - University Of District Of Columbia
item ARLOTTA, CAITLIN - University Of District Of Columbia
item Lewers, Kimberly

Submitted to: Scientia Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/20/2021
Publication Date: 11/30/2021
Citation: Richardson, M.L., Arlotta, C.G., Lewers, K.S. 2021. Yield and nutrients of six cultivars of strawberries grown in five urban cropping systems. Scientia Horticulturae. .

Interpretive Summary: Interest in cropping systems for urban areas is growing to meet the challenge of restricted access to fresh produce for city dwellers. Strawberries are a good candidate for urban production, because of their compact plant architecture, high economic value and recognition as being a healthful food. Six strawberry varieties that fruit for several months a year were grown in five growing systems for urban environments: a hydroponic system, an aquaponic system, two green-roof systems using different planters and potting mixes, and a raised bed system. Total yield, marketable yield, berry size, percentage of rotted fruits, and fruit mineral content were measured. The raised-bed and hydroponic systems were the most productive. Fruits grown in the hydroponic system had the highest mineral content and lowest percentage rot. The strawberry variety, Portola, produced the highest yield and largest berries in all five cropping systems. This research will be valuable for anyone interested in growing strawberries commercially in urban environments.

Technical Abstract: Urban populations struggle with restricted access to fresh produce, especially health-promoting fresh fruits and vegetables, and urban agriculture approaches are of increasing interest. In this study, five growing systems for urban environments were used to produce strawberry fruit, a popular and high-value fruit. Two green-roof systems, two Dutch-bucket systems, and a raised bed system were used to grow six strawberry varieties. Fruit total mass, marketable mass, size, percentage rotted fruit, and mineral content were measured. A hydroponics system using Dutch buckets and grown with the protection of a high tunnel produced the highest yield on a per plant basis and the lowest percentage of rotted fruit containing the highest amount of six minerals. A raised bed system was most productive on a replicate basis and provided the largest fruits, but had the greatest percentage of rotted fruit. Percentage of rotted fruit was determined by the growing system rather than the strawberry variety. Overall, ‘Portola’ produced the highest yield of the largest berries, but there were significant growing-system-by-variety interaction effects. The growing system should be selected before the variety.