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USA: Hydroponic Strawberries in Arizona

USA: Hydroponic Strawberries in Arizona

Growing up in Tokyo, Chieri Kubota savored fresh strawberries brimming with flavor in the winter. Only when she went to college and studied agriculture did she learn that fresh strawberries in winter are “an unusual cycle against nature,” she says. Today Chieri is trying to perfect that off-season cycle and grow strawberries hydroponically in a greenhouse in the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. Her goal is to introduce sustainable strawberry cultivation to local greenhouse growers. In the United States, the majority of strawberries are grown in California and varieties are bred for that climate. In the desert, even in a greenhouse, it’s a challenge to approximate that mild, misty coastal climate, but research specialist Mark Kroggel, Chieri’s co-principal investigator on the project who has a master of science degree in horticultural science, designed an under-the-bench fog system that releases humidity at night so the strawberries are dewy moist by dawn. (Source: phys.org)