Throughout the Central Valley nurseries are deemed essential because they sale fruits, vegetables, and outdoor plants. With numerous businesses temporary closed to stay at home restrictions, more and more people are turning to gardening swamping local nurseries with their business.
By Tim Hammerich with the Ag Information Network of the West
Will we see commercial avocado production move into the central valley? That’s what Joseph Mark Buhl is wondering. Along with a few collaborators, he is running a test of different avocado and rootstock combinations in the Visalia area. He wants to know, can they grow well under nets. “We’re kind of replicating almost like a Colombian rain forest in there for them. Then the hope is to keep it under 95 degrees, and the hope is to keep it above 32 degrees.”
Buhl is the cofounder of Data Harvest. He says avocados could offer central valley growers good prices, lower pesticide needs, and a water-efficient crop. “I brought this project back with Dr. Mary Lu Arpaia, UCANR Cooperative Extension, Subtropical Horticulturist about a year and a half ago when some friends of mine had shared with me what they were able to attain to these in these net houses for environments,” said Buhl. And so we thought, what a wonderful opportunity to try this out. And, so my place is in hoping that this is an industry starter for other farmers and for the central Valley. And around the world. I think there’s many opportunities and environments that haven’t been considered that this could open the doors for growing all over.”
The project is made possible in part by a USDA grant to study the concept in California and Texas.