Twilight Tour on Thursday, April 20th – Comparing Plugs and Cut-Offs (5:30pm, April 18, 2017)

— Written By Barclay Poling
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Fig. 1. On Thursday afternoon this week we will have an opportunity to see a research trial in Elm City, NC (near Wilson) that is allowing us to make a direct comparison of strawberry plug plants with cut-offs. This trial includes 8 varieties, and the plot you see in the foreground of this photo (401-C) has cut-off plants of Chandler. Just behind this plot is a plot with Chandler plug plants (401-P). This particular trial was sponsored by Lassen Canyon Nursery, and is located at the research farm of Jim Driver and Cortney Batten (5451 Lindsey Rd, Elm City, NC 27822). I hope you can clear your schedule to join us for this Twilight Tour and BBQ. We are simply requesting that you send a text message that you are planning  to come:  Cortney’s cell number is  919-390-8190, and her email: bar.cortney.driver@gmail.com

Good Afternoon,

Late in the afternoon on Thursday this week you may wish to take advantage of an opportunity to see a research trial that was planted last October 12th for the purpose of making direct comparisons of the performance of our most popular strawberry varieties, including Chandler and Camarosa, as cut-off and plugs plants (Fig. 2).

Plugs are the most popular type of plant in North Carolina, but in recent years there has been a trend towards increasing use of cut-offs, especially with more vigorous varieties like Chandler. One of the factors that has kept cut-offs from being more widely planted in areas like the North Carolina’s piedmont has been the fact that they have not been available until around the middle of October. Suppliers of cut-offs from northern California have been working towards earlier shipping dates, and last year a number of growers were able to plant cut-offs by around October 10th. This particular trial in Elm City was planted on October 12, 2017 (just after Hurricane Matthew). In this research block we have four replicates of each Plug vs. Cut-off treatment, and our 8 varieties include Chandler, Camarosa, Sweet Charlie, Ruby June, Scarlet, Sweet Ann, Lucia and Camino Real.

I was able to stop  by this trial in Elm City last Friday morning (Good Friday), and took the photo you see in Figure 1 of the trial area, as well as another photo of  low tunnels that are being tested in the guard row area (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3. Sweet Ann is one of Lassen Canyon’s new varieties that can be very productive, but is rain sensitive! So, we have been experimenting with low tunnel ‘rain protection’ at the research farm in Elm City for this variety. At the recommendation of the breeder of  the Sweet Ann variety, Jim Bagdasarian, we tightened up our plant spacing ‘across the row’ so that most of the fruit would be under the protection of the tunnel. The characteristically long fruit trusses of Sweet Ann can present a problem if you set plants too close to the shoulders of the plastic bed.

Please come join us the Thursday afternoon in Elm City for this once a year Twilight Tour and BBQ.

We are also raffling off a new digital thermometer from Omega Engineering!

Earlier on the same afternoon, we will be down in Faison, NC, at Cottle Farms where we have a very extensive variety trial as well as a collection of nearly 100 advanced selections from the Lassen Canyon Breeding program (Twilight Tour April 20 2017.rev 2)