Assessing the efficacy of a tabletop day-neutral strawberry production system for Minnesota

M. K. Fessler, Emily Hoover, N. O. Anderson, Steven R Poppe, N. Dalman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Demand for locally-grown produce, including strawberries, has been increasing across the Upper Midwest region of the USA over the last several decades. Due to the continental climate and short growing season, Minnesota strawberry production has been dominated by June-bearing cultivars, with harvest occurring from mid-June to early July. However, the opportunity has arisen to begin growing day-neutral cultivars using innovative cultural techniques, including outdoor hydroponic tabletop production systems. Using tabletop systems outdoors has the potential to enhance fruit quality, improve harvest efficiency, extend the growing season and reduce pest and disease incidence. The objectives of this study were to assess the efficacy of an outdoor tabletop system using two day-neutral strawberries, Fragaria × ananassa ‘Albion’ and ‘Cabrillo’, and two soilless media types, organic peat-and-perlite (Berger OM6 All-Purpose) and peat-and-ground-bark (Berger BM4 Natural Fiber Wood). Treatments were evaluated for yield and fruit quality during summer 2021. The study was conducted at two locations – at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul (StP) and at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris (WCROC). The system produced high quality fruit that was easy to harvest for both cultivars. However, yield differed significantly between the two cultivars with ‘Cabrillo’ having higher yield and berry size compared to ‘Albion’. There was no significant difference in yield between the two soilless media types in StP, but was significant at WCROC. Malformed fruit was noted, with ‘Albion’ having a larger proportion of unmarketable fruit compared to ‘Cabrillo’. This study enhances our understanding of hydroponic strawberry production in the Upper Midwest and provides Minnesota growers with alternatives to traditional June-bearing strawberry production methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-338
Number of pages6
JournalActa Horticulturae
StatePublished - Nov 2023

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  • Fragaria × ananassa
  • hydroponics
  • peat
  • soilless culture
  • tabletop strawberries


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