Strawberry season is here

Published 3:31 pm Wednesday, March 30, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

The first strawberries of the season have ripened in Chilton County, and things look hopeful for a good year.

Commercial horticulture agent David Lawrence with the Chilton Regional Research and Extension Center said the warm sunshine in the past week has helped the fruit to ripen.

“It shouldn’t be long at all before everyone is in full production,” Lawrence said.

It had been anticipated that the season would start later this year because of a late frost. However, plastic row coverings allowed the fruit to keep developing.

“I have been around the county and plants look fantastic,” Lawrence said. “We have some of the best growers in the state here in Chilton County, and I am always amazed how they are able to work through those adverse conditions and still produce a good crop every year.”

If the weather cooperates, strawberries should be available through late May.

Having so much rain this month could have had a negative impact on the strawberry crop.

“Rain is not good for them,” Lawrence said. “… Just about everybody here … plants on plastic beds with drip irrigation, so we can really regulate the amount of water that the plants get. Rain promotes diseases.”

Camarosa strawberries is the variety that the vast majority of growers cultivate in Central Alabama. However, the Chilton Regional Research and Extension Center is researching other varieties that might grow well here.

“You never know if growers aren’t going to be able to find the variety they want from the nurseries, and so it is always good to. have a backup plan,” Lawrence said.

Some of the findings from the center’s research will be presented to growers on April 26 at 10 a.m. Growers interested in attending should contact the center at 205-646-3610 for details.