We got our first set of sap analysis back from our strawberries, and it confirmed my hunch that something wasn't quite right. Our strawberry plants are low in a few micronutrients that impact harvest volume, insect resistance and taste. Ultimately the solution to this will be to build a diverse soil food web that can work with the plants to get these nutrients from the soil, but that takes time. In the interests of not going out of business before then, I've opted instead for a very targeted foliar feeding program based on this first sap analysis and the ones I'll take in the future.
Sap analysis is new for me, and I find it fascinating. Plants move nutrients around in their sap based on everything from water availability to weather to time of day. For sap analysis, you're supposed to collect 2 oz of new leaves and 2 oz of older but still viable leaves between dawn and 9am on a day when there haven't been storms in the past 12 hours. The leaves are shipped overnight on ice to the lab.
We got our results back on Wednesday, and our nutrient shipment arrived today. Tomorrow I'll start spraying it out on the strawberries, and we'll see what happens!