Why do the East Side of My Strawberry Rows Have Way More Ripe Ones than the West Side? – Facts for Fancy Fruit

Why do the East Side of My Strawberry Rows Have Way More Ripe Ones than the West Side?

Plasticulture strawberry harvest has kicked off in southern Indiana. These plants went through a winter of temperatures, ups and downs, and survived the unexpected frosts in April. Finally, it is harvest time!
This article’s title is a message from a grower. The straightforward explanation is that plants received more sunlight and warmed up faster on the east side, so the berries ripen earlier.
This question reminds me to review the considerations for row orientations. Although row orientation is not something we can change now, it helps us develop careful thought in planning for the next season.
The first consideration in row orientation is slop. If the field has a slop, orient the rows across the slop, not along the slop. The main reason is to reduce erosion. If it is a level ground, rows in a north-to-south orientation receive sunlight more evenly than east-to-west rows. More even sunlight means the fruit ripen more evenly. Another consideration for the row orientation is the prevailing wind. From a disease management standpoint, the rows that run with the wind dry faster, reducing disease pressure than rows that block the wind. In reality, there is hardly a perfect solution. But understanding these considerations could help us make the best possible decision.
I hope the weather will cooperate in the next few weeks. Happy Harvesting!

A plasticulture strawberry field in southern Indiana.

A commercial plasticulture strawberry field in southern Indiana. Harvest started about a week ago.

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