Two new berry plantings went in this week at Cornell Orchards:
A day at the beach: On a sunny Tuesday, associate professor Justine Vanden Heuvel and research support specialist Michael Brown got a good start on planting a new cranberry bed, the first at Cornell Orchards. (The inaugural class of Cornell Orchards interns continued planting on Friday.)
The 35- by 25-foot wood-framed raised bed features layer of drain tile in gravel, followed by a thick layer of compost topped off by a layer of sand. Later, Vanden Heuvel will install drip irrigation to water the plants.
Vanden Heuvel is no stranger to cranberry research. That was her specialty in her previous position at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Cranberry Research Station.
The bed is planted to a single variety (Stevens) that Vanden Heuvel will use to study bud hardiness and answer other questions about basic cranberry physiology. “Compared to grapes — where we know so much about how the plants work — we know next-to-nothing about cranberries,” she says. “I’m looking forward to shedding a little more light on this crop.”
A day in the mud: On a misty Wednesday, professor Marvin Pritts and crew planted a day-neutral (everbearing) strawberry trial that will compare the performance of several different types of low tunnel plastic — plastic tenting that extends the harvest season and protects plants from frost. He’ll also be testing a new netting designed to protect the fruit against Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD), an invasive fruit fly pest first detected in New York in 2011.