Farming on the 5’s – The California Edition

It’s the 15th, which means it’s time for Farming on the 5’s. Today, instead of hearing about what Brad did today, (He drove his semi and the grain cart for harvest in case you really wanted to know.) we get to hear about how they prepare the ground for plants on a strawberry farm in California. On a Farming on the 5’s in the near future, she’ll tell us about the next steps in the strawberry growing process. It is completely appropriate for this blog because it’s interesting, it’s farming, and the author of the post is none other than my small town Nebraska born and raised sister-in-law.

With no further ado, I present to you a interesting guest post from Renae:

It’s that time of year again when all the strawberry growers on the central coast of California are prepping for the upcoming growing season. In 2010, more than 2 billion pounds of strawberries were harvest in California. Yikes! That’s a lot of fruit! Approximately 37,000 acres are planted each year and the crop is valued around $2.1 billion. Production doesn’t start until spring time, but soil preparation and planting starts today.

The initial ground prep consists of ripping, disking, plowing, disking again, laser leveling, and spring chisel….and that’s just the start! (Blood pressure is high at this point!)After the field is spring chiseled (above) the next step is to make the raised beds.
The soil moisture is critical for the beds to keep their shape, so prior to making the beds the field is irrigated via irrigation pipe. (Moving 30 foot aluminum irrigation pipe is not fun.) Anyways, this machine makes three beds at a time and each bed is 64 inches wide. This is my favorite part…but maybe that’s just because it requires such a big tractor to get the job done.

After the beds are shaped, drip tape is installed for season long irrigation.


It’s very important the drip tape is installed at the right depth and is laying correctly otherwise your crop won’t be irrigated or fertilized properly for the entire season, so these guys are measuring and double checking if everything is correct. Also, notice there are three tractors in the picture. These guys were preparing 2 acres and had 7 tractors working at one time. Organized chaos!

Next the beds are covered with plastic mulch.

We’re almost there… Finally, the beds are punched with this funny looking machine.
It makes holes every 14 inches for the strawberry transplants. Now the beds are ready for planting….stay tuned.

Thanks Renae! You should write a book.

Readers, feel free to ask any questions in the comments. I know Renae would love to answer them. If you don’t have a question, you can just tell her thanks for sharing if you feel so inclined.

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8 thoughts on “Farming on the 5’s – The California Edition

  1. It’s called a Puncher. Everyone borrows each others equipment so people call and say “Hi Can I borrow your Puncher?”….very technical terminology 🙂

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    • Ha! I thought maybe it was because they wanted to match the plastic mulch, or maybe you took that picture before labor day and they wanted to wear their white pants one more time that season.

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      • Ha! I always ponder the same situation when I see the dairy folks showing their milk cows at the fairs . . . who on earth picked white for someone so close to, um, let’s just say, a bovine’s habitat and all that accompanies that world! I bet it was NOT the one who does the laundry . . . 🙂

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  2. Pingback: Farming on the 5′s – The California Edition | Small Town Nebraska

  3. Pingback: Farming on the 5′s | Small Town Nebraska

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