CRANBERRY FARM Development project

The aim of all the efforts is to make a healthy, weeds-free cranberry plantation, which is able to bring good crops each year. Every field is a part of the overall "bog", which includes berry fields, water reservoirs, the system of dikes, pump stations, auxiliary buildings and territory, which surrounds the bog and lies on a higher level.

A short description of the project

Cranberries are very merchantable and well paid in the markets of the world. In the USA as a profitable crop they have been grown since 1816. Perfect technologies for commercial growing of cranberries have been developed here as well as many productive breeds selected. However there is shortage of cranberries in the world. The reason for this is that the resources for the extension are almost exhausted in USA and Canada, where are the most suitable regions for this kind of crop. The crop of wild cranberries in other regions of the world is also decreasing due to industrial extraction of peat, where wild cranberry plants are destroyed as a result. It's almost 30 years since researches about cranberry growing are being carried out in Latvia. There is a rich experience gained and conclusions come to about cranberry growing in our climatic conditions.

In the USA cranberries are mainly grown in lowlands - mineral soils rich of humus or low bogs. Our local wild cranberries in its turn prefer to grow in sphagnum bogs.

Today Latvian Cranberry Growers' Association together with consultants from the USA and Canada has started a large campaign of growing large American cranberries here in Latvia.

Expanding cranberry growing technologies in Latvia it has to be done together with scientists, using their experience and conclusions about particular growing conditions.

The project is the work of this nature, because:
      - the Babite polder is appropriate in terms of soil acidity and nutrients , although it doesn't correspond with typical American cranberry growing plantations;
      - the current place doesn't correspond with the wild cranberry growing conditions in sphagnum bogs, although before Babite polder there was a wild cranberry bogs here in 1930'ies.

However, there are several conditions here, which permit to form both wild and large American cranberry bogs. It is comparatively easy to regulate humidity conditions here necessary for cranberry growing. After installing drainage systems, building dikes and pump stations the conditions has been made, which allow to consider this place partially fitted for implementing intensive technologies.

Nearness of ice-free Riga Gulf permits to avoid early autumn frosts, and this is also the reason for relatively mild climate during winter. Auxiliary materials such as peat, sand and saw dust are also available.

The Babite polder - a suitable place for cranberry growing.