Kelowna farm's hanging strawberry plants mean fresh berries well into the fall - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Mostly Cloudy
0.0°C

Kelowna farm's hanging strawberry plants mean fresh berries well into the fall

The Rutland Farm Market on Rutland Road will offer fresh, locally grown strawberries long after outdoor berry crops are finished for the year.
June 26, 2017 - 8:00 PM

KELOWNA – Fresh Okanagan strawberries may soon be available year round, thanks to a Kelowna family.

Rutland Farm Market on Rutland Road has been growing fresh vegetables for the Kelowna market for the past seven years. Manjit and Raj Basra started growing cucumbers in 2010 when they took over the Kelowna Rose Garden, but soon branched out into other fresh produce.

Strawberries are one of their most popular crops, Raj says, but only partly because they are only available for a month in the spring.

They hope to change that.

“We did things differently this year,” Raj says. “Last year a guy who helped us told us about this new thing.”

The new thing is stacking the strawberry plants for more efficient use of the indoor space but also to share water. Only the top plant in the stack is watered, with excess running down to the other five.

The Basra family, including daughter Gurleen, 11, help gather the strawberries every second morning. It usually takes around two hours, but is made much easier by an ingenious rail cart system they’ve installed.

Rutland Farm Market uses a rail system both to heat the greenhouse and carry a powered cart.
Rutland Farm Market uses a rail system both to heat the greenhouse and carry a powered cart.

Parallel bars run between all the Basra’s rows, and carry a powered cart with a chair for the picker and a collection basket.

This new way to grow strawberries will yield twice as many per square metre, she says, and make them available to the public much longer.

The stacks of strawberry plants also hang above a seventh planter, containing a different experimental crop.  

Companion planting has been around for thousands of years and is used to maximize garden space and increase yield. However because this is a relatively new way to grow strawberries, Raj and Manjit need to find out which plants like to grow near strawberries.

They’re trying everything from eggplant to tomatoes to dill. Kale, she says, is thriving.

“There is lots to learn still.” 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
InfoTel News Ltd

  • Popular penticton News
  • Comments
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile