Spotlight on Farming Strawberries Indoors

Aug 19, 2018

It looks like even the Wall Street Journal has caught the urban farming bug.  Link to article below out of their "The Future of Everything" series, followed by my comments.

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/strawberry-jam-urban-farming-startups-tackle-a-problem-crop-1534424400?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=1

I find it utterly mind-blowing the obsession with pollination indoors.  Strawberries are self-pollinated and do pretty well in the absence of bees, it is even noted in the article towards the end that a grower who spends a lot of time with her plants already doesn't see any issues.

No mention of Botrytis grey mold, which in a windless, less than ideally ventilated space must be a fearsome problem. Ditto mites.  All of this is lost on the obsession with pollination. 

Instead, the indoor growers really should be focusing on light (intensity and length) and temperature, and I'd personally invest some time on seeing responses to different chill times pre-plant.  Would it even be possible to artificially chill plants in the closed environment after fruit production as a form of renovation?  Now THAT would be interesting and possibly yield big dividends, certainly much more than getting one's shorts in a twist about pollination.

Nice quote by Gerald from the CalPoly Strawberry Center, bringing everyone back to reality on what it is going to cost to farm berries like this.  

 

 


By Mark Bolda
Author - County Director, Santa Cruz County and Farm Advisor, Strawberries & Caneberries