OCEAN CITY, MD – Have you ever ever needed strawberries so brilliant and crimson that your area seems stuffed with Christmas lights?
Properly, you could not have considered it in these phrases, however a shiny new strawberry selection guarantees to begin your season with the traits growers need.
“It was just like the holy grail was massive, early, candy strawberries, proper? Now I lastly have one,” mentioned Kim Lewers, a analysis strawberry plant geneticist on the USDA’s Beltsville Agricultural Analysis Middle in central Maryland. “.
Lewers launched its new launch, Lumina this yr, on November 15 on the College of Maryland College of Mid-Atlantic Crop Administration on the Princess Royale Oceanfront Resort.
Lumina combines qualities that no different early season strawberry can match.
It produces very candy berries. It is agency however creamy in texture, not tart.
It produces massive, uniformly sized fruits, and all the time offers good yields.
For added eye attraction, Lumina is awfully shiny, to the purpose that it virtually seems moist. It was this attribute, the looks of Christmas lights positioned on black plastic, that impressed Loewers to present Lumina its light-related identify.
“It is laborious to call the varieties,” Lewers mentioned. “Strive it a while. It needs to be one phrase. It has to someway replicate the category. And so they do not offer you any coaching for that in any respect.”
Lumina can alleviate a few of the want for spring frost safety.
Some early varieties, together with Airliglow, Candy Charlie, and Chandler, by no means go dormant. They may flower underneath winter row covers.
“Lumina would not do this,” Lewers mentioned. “It stays there good and inexperienced, ready politely till it is time to begin flowering and fruiting. After which growth.”
Till now, Airliglow has been a favourite selection for its nice early season flavour. However the Erliglo selection, launched in 1975, has frustratingly small fruits.
Lumina is not going to essentially take away Earliglow, Candy Charlie, Galetta and different early varieties. However Lewers believes he may make a compelling addition.
“Please don’t threat the farm on one selection or what I say or something like that,” Lewers mentioned. “Strive a number of. Preserve tabs on them and see what your clients like.
In the midst of the spring strawberry season, growers may strive Memento, a Lewers selection that emerged early within the epidemic.
Memento, which got here a bit later than Flavorfest, is the primary selection Lewers has launched because it tries to pick out for shelf life.
It has a traditional strawberry look, whereas Lewers described Flavorfest as having a pleasant, plump look.
As for a memento, even the inexperienced prime of the strawberry is a promoting level.
“Memento additionally has a form of Phyllis Diller coiffure that goes up on prime, with extra of a cup. It’s extremely showy,” Lewers mentioned.
Lewers additionally has a brand new selection to complete the June season sturdy.
Cordial is its highest yielding selection, producing massive quantities of enormous berries. It’s proof against anthracnose fruit rot, and tolerates heavy rains very nicely.
If there is a draw back, it is that the Cordial taste is simply common.
“I am not going to let you know it is pretty much as good as Lumina, Memento and Earliglow, however it’s fairly near Flavorfest, which lots of people love,” Lewers mentioned.
Due to the pandemic, Lewers did not have a lot alternative to advertise these new varieties to growers till lately.
However Lumina is so new that nurseries will not promote it subsequent yr. growers ought to ask their nurseries to develop it till it turns into commercially out there.
“That is the way you get the varieties you need to strive that might be useful to your farm,” Lewers mentioned.
In her breeding program, Lewers would not use any fungicides or fumigants as a result of she desires to pick out for illness resistance.
“If he will get sick, I would like him to die so none of us must cope with him once more,” Lewers mentioned.
She additionally step by step diminished her winter cowl, from labor-intensive straw to row covers, to no winter safety in any respect final winter.
Just one selection had chilly issues — true, it was a light winter — however Lewers plans to cease utilizing winter cowl in her seedling fields to go for winter hardiness.
Within the spring, nonetheless use computerized irrigation for frost safety – though Lumina, after all, might cut back the necessity for this.