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Easy-To-Pick High-Rise Strawberries
A pick-your-own fruit grower in England has come up with a way to make his operation stand out from the competition. An-drew Hope, who farms near Brockworth in Gloucestershire, puts his strawberries up on "stilts" to make berry picking easier.
As word of mouth spread about his unusual back-friendly operation, customers have flocked to Hope's farm.
When Hope first got the idea, he tried growing berries in bags of compost raised off the ground. It worked so well he set up more than 2 miles of troughs made from plastic pipe wood mounted on fence posts 3 to 5 ft. off the ground and spaced about 3 ft. apart. The first day he was open for picking this year, he had more than 2,000 customers, each of whom picked an average of 6 lbs. of fruit apiece. Hope plans to set up 2 1/2 more miles of growing troughs for next year.
He says customers pick more fruit when they don't have to bend over. And he notes his high-rise berries are ideal for disabled people. There's room between rows to get a wheelchair through.
Because the growing troughs are filled with pure compost, they have to be watered for at least 5 min. every hour regardless of weather. Hope runs irrigation lines along each trough. He also coated each post with a sticky substance to keep insects from crawling up to the fruit. The result, he re-ports, is a much healthier crop than when grown on the ground and no need for pesticides or herbicides.
He charges no more per pound than he did before. He's counting on increased volume to cover the added expense. (The Daily Mail, London, England)

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1994 - Volume #18, Issue #6