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‘Saanich’ raspberry tissue culture plug plants growing through plastic mulch after planting on Oct. 1, 2013 (photo taken Jan. 15, 2014).

ERIC GERBRANDT PHOTOS use tissue culture plugs in the future.”

A second set of trials is under way to investigate potential solutions using plasticulture, bed fumigation and tissue culture establishment with the same plastic mulch system used for growing strawberries.

“Plastic mulch is a bit of an investment and not permanent, but it affords the grower the ability to do drip-line fumigation under the plastic, that may help growers to deal with the upcoming changes to fumigation regulations,” says Gerbrandt, referring to changes in PMRA’s fumigation requirements that come into effect on Sept. 14.

“This growing environment also permits more rapid plant establishment.”

Gerbrandt is already looking ahead to a third set of trials

Side-by-side arrangement of plug sizes used in planting trials. From left: 60-cell (plastic tray), 112-cell (styro- block), 77-cell (styro-block) and 50-cell (plastic tray).

with researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada that will look at more factors as they work to develop locally-relevant production practices for B.C. growers.

“We’re not making anything new here. We are trying things that are prevalent in other areas of the world and might have some benefit for growers here,” he says.

“The real clincher in doing trials is to determine the increase in yield, fruit quality and farm gate revenue that can result from these innovations. The goal for the future is to have a comprehensive set of establishment practices using these innovations to help combat the issue of raspberry yield decline.”

British Columbia Berry Grower • Summer 2014 11

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