Berry Production

Course CodeBHT309
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

How do you grow Strawberries and other berries?

Learn from a team of Horticultural Experts.

  • Online Course
  • Alternatively, study by Distance education using paper based notes or a CD

Berry fruits are popular the world over. Some berries are grown widely, in different climates and countries (eg. growing strawberries), whilst others might be popular in some regions but not others.

This course is for the enthusiast or commercial grower. Covering all aspects of the propagation, care and cultivation of common (and uncommon) berry fruit; with the opportunity to specialise to some degree in one type of berry.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
  2. Review of the system of plant identification
  3. General characteristics of the berries
  4. Information contacts (ie: nurseries, seed, clubs etc.) Which Varieties to Grow
  5. Lesser Grown Varieties of Berry Plants
    • Culture
    • Planting
    • staking
    • mulching
    • watering
    • pest & disease
    • feeding
    • pruning
    • protection from wind, salt, air, etc.
    • Propagation
  6. Methods of propagating berries
  7. Propagation of selected varieties
  8. Weed Control & Irrigation
  9. Harvesting & Marketing Berries
  10. Commercial Berry Growing

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Differentiate between different types of berry fruit cultivars.
  • Determine varieties of berry fruit suitable for growing in a specified locality.
  • Explain the cultural treatment for a range of berry fruits, in specified situations.
  • Determine how to propagate a range of different berry plants.
  • Explain the harvesting of different berry crops.
  • Develop strategies for commercial success in a berry fruit enterprise.

What You Will Do

  • A photo, illustration or pressed specimen
    • Cultural details
    • Harvest and post harvest
    • Uses (eg. valuable products).
  • Develop criteria for the selection of suitable berry fruit varieties, to grow in a specified locality.
  • Evaluate the performance of four different berry varieties growing in the learners locality.
  • Determine appropriate varieties of different berries to grow in a specified locality, including:
    • Strawberries
    • Brambles
    • Other berries.
  • Describe an appropriate planting method for each of three specified genera of berry fruits.
  • Illustrate an appropriate pruning methods for each of four different genera of berry fruits, using sequences of drawings, photographs, or video.
  • Determine appropriate irrigation practices for two different, specified berry plantings.
  • Develop feeding programs for a twelve month period, for three different berry crops suited to growing in the learner's locality.
  • Conduct simple soil tests to determine soil characteristics relevant to a proposed berry planting in the learner's locality. Soil tests should include:
    • Soil type
    • Water holding capacity
    • pH
    • Drainage
  • Recommend appropriate soil preparation for the tested soil, in 3.5, prior to planting a specified berry crop.
  • Compare four different weed control practices appropriate for specified berry crops.
  • Develop soil maintenance programs for a twelve month period, on a monthly basis, for three different berry crops.
  • Identify ten different health disorders (e.g. pests and diseases) on berry plants in the learner's locality.
  • Develop a pest and disease control program for a twelve month period, for a specified berry crop.
  • Describe different methods for propagating five specified berry plants, including:
    • Cuttings
    • Runners
    • Division
    • Layering
  • Demonstrate cutting propagation of two different berry species.
  • Produce marketable berry plants representing two different genera, either as bare rooted or container plants.
  • Compare the commercial viability of propagating one specified berry by two alternative propagation techniques.
  • Explain how to determine when five different types of berries are ready for harvest.
  • Describe different methods for harvesting five different types of berries, including:
    • Manual
    • Mechanical
    • Explain the harvesting of five types of berries before they are ripe, and ripening of the berries off the plant.
  • Determine appropriate post-harvest treatments for a specified commercial berry crop.
  • Develop a resource file of thirty items of information relevant to the berry fruit industry, including:
    • Suppliers of berry plants
    • Trade or grower associations
    • Publications
  • Determine criteria which are significant in the commercial success of a specific berry farm, visited by the learner.
  • Explain how a range of five different berries are prepared for the market.
  • Prepare a chart of ten different berry species that lists their shelf life.
  • Evaluate the commercial viability of three different methods of packaging and presenting berries for sale.
  • Compare common marketing strategies for berry fruits, including:
    • Selling at wholesale markets
    • Selling on contract to chain stores
    • Selling to processors
    • Roadside stalls
    • U-pick selling
  • Develop a marketing plan for one specified type of berry fruit.


____________________________________________________________________________

Learn to Grow Strawberries and other Berries, on a commercial farm;
                                      or more seriously at home.

There are many berry crops in widespread commercial cultivation. There are many other berries that are not in widespread commercial cultivation however. When selecting varieties to grow in a new location, it is worthwhile to investigate not only the common berries available, but also less common varieties with commercial or dietary potential.

 

Quick Guide to Choosing MORE POPULAR Berries

 

Berry

Expected time to bear well

Suitable

climates

Worst problems

Some popular varieties

Blueberry

4‑6yrs

Cool/Mild

  Few apart from birds

Highbush types

 

Boysenberry*

1‑2yrs

Cool

Thrip, anthracnose, birds

 

 

Currant

2‑3yrs

Cooler

Leaf diseases, aphis, mites

 

‘Fay's Prolific’,  ‘La Versailles

Gooseberry

2‑3yrs

Cooler

Leaf diseases, mites, aphis

 

‘Roaring lion’

Loganberry*

1‑2yrs

Cool

Anthracnose, thrip, birds

 

             

Raspberry

1‑2yrs

Cooler to mild

Thrip, grubs, botrytis, anthracnose

‘Everbearer’ (late)   ‘Neika’, ‘Willamette

Strawberry

1yr

Cooler to warm

Botrytis, virus, mites thrip, slugs

 

‘Red Gauntlet’ ‘Cambridge Vigour’

Youngberry *

1yr

Cool

Thrip, birds,   anthracnose

 

Thornless type

                *

* These are hybrids or varieties of the blackberry.

 

Thousands of Cultivars to Choose from

There are hundreds, if not thousands of different cultivars of just strawberries. Brambles, raspberries, blueberries and others also come in hundreds of varieties. Each one has been intentionally bred or selected from chance seedlings because of some unique and valuable characteristics (e.g. berry size, profusion of fruit, time of fruiting, taste, colour, disease resistance, or something else).

Strawberries

Different strawberry cultivars have been more popular in different places, at different times for example: in early 1900’s ‘Melba’ was the most popular cultivar grown in Victoria (Australia), but over time yields of ‘Melba’ decreased in that part of the world and other cultivars were introduced, including ‘Sunbeam’, ‘Ettesberg’, ‘Wilson’s Pride’ and ‘Climax’ . Popular varieties which are still popular today include ’Red Gauntlet’, ‘Torrey’, ‘Tioga’ and ‘Sweetheart’.

Success with growing strawberries depends, at least partly, upon choosing the best cultivar to grow, for the local conditions. Growing conditions to be considered include the overall climate, the local weather conditions and any microclimates at your growing site. Temperature, especially frost, has a significant effect on the quantity and quality (i.e. taste) of the fruit and strawberries will mature more rapidly in warm weather. Generally, the best flavour is achieved when days are sunny and nights are cool. Warm temperatures improve flavour, while cool temperatures are idea for firmer fruit. However, there are cultivars available for even warm climates, such as ‘Albritton’, grown in the warmth of North Carolina. In humid areas, such as the Southern USA, ‘Pocahontas’, ‘Blakemore’ and ‘Earlibelle’ are suitable varieties.

Some varieties of strawberry are very frost sensitive, and prone to frost injury. Others are naturally more frost hardy because of short blossom stems, allowing more leaf protection, or a tendency to blossom later in the season. This late blooming means fruit develops after the worst frosts have passed. Examples of frost hardy varieties include ‘Midway’, ‘Earlidawn’, ‘Armore’ and ‘Redstar’, ‘Sparkle’ and ‘Robinson’. In fact, many of these cold-hardy varieties actually require cold rest period of short days and low temperatures. During this time they become dormant and growth slows. Some varieties, known collectively as ‘Everbearing’, will even produce a second set of buds if their first set is killed by frost.

When choosing a cultivar, also consider the soil conditions and land quality at the growing site. Varieties such as ‘Surecrop’, ‘Robinson’ and ‘Sunrise’ are a good choice when land is poor or the region is dry. Cultivars are also available with improved resistance to the pests and diseases common to some areas or climates. ‘Fairfax’, ‘Empire’, ‘Redstar’ or ‘Surecrop’ have some natural resistance to leaf trouble. ‘Surecrop’ also shows resistance to Verticillium Wilt, as does and Red Stele resistance.

It is also essential that you consider the purpose you have in mind for the fruit.

For some growers, economic factors such as crop yield, fruit size or freezability are important. Varieties such as ‘Catskill’, ‘Surecrop’,’ Midway’ and ‘Sunrise’ provide high yields, but all cultivars have the potential to yield well if grown in the right conditions. If the fruit will be frozen a firm, freezer-stable variety such as ‘Redchief’ or ‘Pochahontas’ is a good choice. Cultivars can be selected to produce firm fruit suitable for shipping, such as ‘Michigan’, ‘Catskill’ and ‘Sparkle’, however firmness is also best in cooler growing areas. The firmer strawberry cultivars such as ‘Earlibelle’ and ‘Pochahontas’ are also suitable for jam making and preserving.

 

 

 

 WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS COURSE?

  • This course is for the enthusiast through to the commercial grower.
  • Start your own berry growing farm
  • Set up a fruit garden in your own backyard or property

 

 

HOW TO ENROL

 

 

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