Phil Greig inspects his growing strawberries at his Kumeu farm
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Growing Outstanding Strawberries with AquaTraxx Drip Tape

Picking orchard fruit was Phil Greig’s first job after leaving school. He caught the proverbial bug and decided to establish a business growing strawberries, starting with a bare paddock in the Auckland suburb of Kumeu. After twenty-nine years, Phil Greig’s Strawberry Garden had become a thriving operation serving both domestic and Asian markets. The business had 1.3 million plants covering 19 blocks, and employed 150 people as committed to quality as he is. But then along came Covid.

Major Hiccup

Although he has had to overcome many obstacles, Phil says that nothing has compared to the challenges of the last two years. The pandemic lockdowns saw the closing of New Zealand’s borders and the suspension of working holiday visas, making it incredibly difficult to find the people needed
to successfully pick all of his strawberry fields. Phil had to dispose of many tonnes of produce.

“This really hurt after all the time and resources invested in cultivating them, but there just weren’t enough hands to pick them,” he recounts. “Walking away from crops was the lowest point of my career.”

Work holiday schemes did reopen in March 2022, but this was far too late for many growers to begin the recruitment process for this season. Phil had to reduce his production by half, only cultivating 10 blocks to reduce costs and possible wastage.

Committed to Quality

Despite these recent disruptions, Phil still has the sunny disposition of a man who loves what he does and believes in his craft. He gets a thrill from working out the logistics of preparing, cultivating, growing, picking, packing and dispatching his produce. He explains that growing strawberries from seed requires great care: “Many things can go wrong; quality produce isn’t achieved by chance.”

Phil implements a meticulous process of innovation and maintenance, using fresh soil and new plants every growing season to ensure the best result. The season starts in May, with four months of solid work preparing the soil and planting the seeds. This is followed by six weeks of no activity until the
plants are ready for trimming. During harvesting, the fruit is hand-picked daily and graded for each market.

It’s Phil’s drive for quality that has had him purchasing Toro Aqua-Traxx® PBX from Leicesters Soil Solutions for over 15 years. As his business grew, he did try experimenting with different brands to keep costs down but he learnt a lesson the hard way. One year, a cheaper tape went through the machine, became porous, cracked and split.

“It was disastrous,” Phil told us. “Cheaper and thinner is not always a viable option. I had to spend a fortune fixing it all by hand. Since then, I’ve only used Aqua-Traxx® PBX as its quality has never let me down. I run fertilizer and water straight from the damp, with no filtration, and I’ve never experienced clogging.”

See For Yourself

Phil is a very hands-on operator, overseeing all aspects of his business from choosing seeds and fertilizers to serving in the store. He enjoys sharing his passion with people from all walks of life and cultures, so be sure to visit his store at 464 State Highway 16, Kumeu. Try some of the largest, reddest, juiciest strawberries in the country – and maybe Phil will even serve you some of their famous, fresh fruit ice cream!

About Aqua-Traxx Drip Tape

Aqua-Traxx® PBX by Toro is the original premium drip tape which ensures uniform water and nutrient distribution to all plants. Thanks to innovative technology and high quality, the characteristics of Aqua-Traxx® PBX are unique:

  • High mechanical resistance for quick, easy installation (shorter laying times and therefore lower labour costs and less risk of damaging the product);
  • Extraordinary efficiency, allowing long lateral lines with very uniform water distribution and therefore high crop uniformity;
  • Durability and excellent reliability achieved via meticulous design and constant, precise control of the extrusion process;
  • High resistance to clogging thanks to the PBX technology;
  • Large outlet section produced using laser technology;
  • The large number of inlets per emitter ensuring constant and uniform water distribution;
  • An inlet filter prevents sediment deposits from entering the emitter;
  • Excellent CV (Coefficient of Variation) thanks to the precision of the flow path, guaranteeing a completely turbulent flow;
  • A single extrusion process, guaranteeing uniform dimensions and mechanical characteristics (no welding, no seams);
  • Easy identification from double blue stripes and an identification code printed on the tube with laser technology.

Order today here!

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