"Soilless strawberry crops are now more common in Italy than they used to be, but it is still rare to find them on three rows. We set up soil-less systems with three adjustable eave rows, positioned so plants are never in the shade thus maintaining the same productivity levels," reports Giusy Carrera, sales manager at Combimetal Carrera, a company located in Basilicata and specializing in the manufacturing of steel structures.
"The eaves are made of galvanized sheet metal with a specific coating guaranteed 6 years and are supported by 2.5mm steel rods and 5 mm hot-dip galvanized brackets that can withstand the weight of the eave itself, of the substrate and of plants in full production. We are trying to reduce the junctures between sheets to a minimum. This is why, in the case of longer greenhouses or particular client requests, the eaves are created directly on site. What is more, central drains are placed between the arches to avoid stagnating water or wet fruit."
"There are multiple advantages to three-row setups - not only triple the number of plants and reduced agronomic interventions, but harvesting is also made easier. The interest from growers is increasing. In some sample greenhouses in the south of the country, we have used different varieties so that we could assess them when it comes to both production and quality. So far, results have been excellent."
Vincenzo Pati, producer from Lequile (Lecce), tried the Combimetal soilless solution: "I have a three-row crop covering 5,000 square meters with 110 thousand plants of the Melissa, NSG 120 (Rossetta®) and NSG 203 (Marimbella®) cultivars. Even in years such as this one, characterized by temperature ranges and cold fronts, I manage to harvest strawberries every day, keeping pathogen pressure to the minimum and with easier harvesting operations."