This week, we planted 16,000 strawberry plants. It took twelve hours, seven people working in shifts, one tractor, and a lot of sunscreen to plant the new fields, which cover about two acres.
We won't see a strawberry crop off these plants this year, though. These little babies will take the next year to spread through the runners and grow into big healthy plants - they'll be ready for strawberry season 2019! This June, we'll be doing a final pick on the fields by the house, which will then be tilled under for a new crop. Kyle rotates crops every 3-4 years to give the fields a break and ensure healthier plants and soil.
The first Vesperman strawberry patch was by the white barn, located right where the duck races are now. Kyle, Judy, and Bruce planted that first field - about 5,000 plants - by hand, spending days on their hands and knees digging, planting, and watering.
"We were younger back then," Kyle says with a shrug.
Today, strawberries are planted by a Transplanter. Hitched to the back of the tractor, the Transplanter seats two people in some actually pretty comfortable chairs. While Kyle drives the tractor at slow idle speed, the planters grab plants from two large compartments and feed them into a wheel. Each individual plant is placed into rubber fingers. As the tractor moves, the Transplanter opens up the furrow and drops the plant in, watering it at the same time. Then the packing wheels close the furrow back up. Check out the video below for a little taste of strawberry planting!
Fun on the farm...in blog form!