My garden, my pride!

Proper Care Of Strawberries For A Great Harvest

, Admin

Strawberries are a favorite and incredibly finicky berry. Like a spoiled child, it reacts painfully to any wrong step in cultivation. However, if you follow the conditions required by the berry, you can annually remove the yields in buckets from 5-10 square meters. The yield and longevity of the "strawberry" (as some old-timers call the strawberry), the spoiled princess of berry growers, depend on some features of its cultivation. In this material, I will share my many years of experience growing strawberries.

Proper care of strawberries for a great harvest
Pineapple strawberry, Garden strawberry, Large-fruited strawberry (Fragaria ananassa)

I have been growing strawberries on my garden plot since 1987. During this time I have changed the place of its cultivation (i.e. replanted) only three times, although there is an opinion that it is more reasonable to replant strawberries after 3-4 years, or even grow them as a crop in sowing or crop rotation.

Strawberry varieties

Best strawberry varieties are old established established established varieties. For propagation, it is better to ask neighbors to share a few bushes, tendrils, berries, from which the favorite variety can be grown by seed. I advise to buy strawberries only from absolutely reliable sellers or in specialized firms. I still have Victoria, Domashnaya, and certainly the name of the third variety and do not remember. The varieties have long been mixed into a single collection and fruitfully until now.

Lighting and place for strawberries

"Strawberry" berry loves the sun. It also bears fruit in the shade, but it must be an appropriate variety that does not react with a sharp decrease in palatability to changes in photosynthetic conditions. Strawberries will not grow and fruit well when placed in lowlands where cold fogs accumulate and in high places, where it will be burned by the bright sun. The root system of strawberries is superficial and quickly responds to any changes in weather conditions. Therefore, the plot should be flat, sunny, windless, with good light. In my country I allocated for strawberries a flat area, the sunniest, away from the garden plantings, but close to the source of irrigation (artesian watering). Water for irrigation necessarily heated in the sun.

Soil for strawberries

Strawberries are fastidious and will not form large berries and large yields on heavy, although fertile soils, peat, light gray soils. The best for it are fertile air- and water-permeable soils: chernozem, chestnut, dark gray soils. On my plot, chernozem is ordinary, fertile enough, but heavy and dense for strawberries. To meet the requirements of the capricious berry, before planting seedlings, whiskers, individual bushes, I prepared the plot since autumn with an area of 10x3m.

Proper care of strawberries for a great harvest
Pineapple strawberry, Garden strawberry, Strawberry large-fruited (Fragaria ananassa)

Preparing the soil and planting strawberries

From the fall on each square meter I made 1.5-2.0 buckets of organic mixture: humus, semi decomposed manure, compost, bird manure. I evenly raked it all over the plot and recultivated. Weeds sprouted lushly. I cultivated with a hoe at 8-10 cm and sowed in the third decade of August rape (you can mustard or other crops) for green manure. About 30 days later I mowed, harvested and added to the compost heap. I pruned the root residues of the ciderat by deep loosening (up to 8-10 cm) and watered with a working solution of Baikal EM-1 soil improver. I used it to increase the number and activity of Effective microorganisms in the soil.

Fall and winter (I live in the south) soil life (earthworms, other soil dwellers) will process most of the organic matter into forms available to plants. In addition, rape and mustard are great phytosanitarians, ridding the soil of fungal-bacterial infection and a variety of pests. Siderats improve soil structure and suppress the growth of weeds. This is a good mulch for dacha plantings (garden, berry, vegetable, flower crops).

Soil after the siderat becomes more airy, becomes more crumbly, significantly reduces the sticking of soil particles into one heavy wet clod. In addition to rapeseed and white mustard, oil radish, buckwheat, oats, phacelia, and other green crops can be sown. Each green manure, in addition to improving soil structure and weed control, replenishes the topsoil with nutrients. Legumes (vetch, lupine, peas) - nitrogen, buckwheat - potassium, white mustard - phosphorus, and rape - phosphorus and sulfur. So, the use of green manure before planting strawberries - a must.

In spring, before planting strawberries, I once again loosened the soil with a hoe. At the same time I rid its top layer from the spring sprouts of weeds. Under loosening made on a square meter of 50 g of nitroammophoska and added agrovermiculite. Natural soil structure improver loosens the soil well, can accumulate water and nutrients and give them gradually to the plants if necessary. It does not have any negative effect on the soil and plants.

I divided the plot for strawberries into narrow ridges and wide paths. Rows slightly raised, raking the soil from the paths. Planting on the ridges double rows. The distance between the lines of 30 - cm, in a row between plants - 20 cm. The path between the ridges left a width of 1,0 m.

After planting strawberries from the watering can without nozzle under each bush poured about 0.4-0.5 liters of solution of kornevin. The soil is mulched (poured) between the plants and between the lines with a mixture of humus with coarse sawdust and soil. After 2 weeks, I watered the rows between the rows with a solution of poultry manure, using a solution diluting 1 part of the manure with 10 parts of water. I mulched the path with coarse mulch. During the rest of the growing season in the first year, I watered the strawberries so that the soil under the mulch was moist. Removed weeds from the path and between the plants on the ridges, cut off all the whiskers. Weeds were cut through mulch by hoe, without raking it.

Proper care of strawberries for a great harvest
Transplanting strawberry seedlings

Care of strawberries

In subsequent years, the soil under the strawberry kept moist, but without excessive moisture. After each irrigation I mulched open soil areas, including paths. Fertilizing during vegetation period 2 times, the last 3rd time - before plants had left to rest.

First time I fertilized during phase of buds - the first flowers, with solution of organics. Poured nutrient solution neatly, from the wide side of the track under the plant root, so that it does not get on the flowers, buds, leaves. Consumption - one bucket of solution for 6-12 bushes of strawberries. Organic fertilizers (manure or poultry manure) diluted in a ratio of 1:10 - 1:12. Sometimes in the first feeding made nitroammophoska 40-50 g per square meter. After feeding was sure to water.

Mulch in a row of fine mulch a layer of 2-3 cm, raising the leaves. I mulched a wide driveway with cut straw, green stems of annual weeds, and mowed bound green mass of green cider plants. The earth was covered with a layer of up to 5 cm. By the mass flowering of strawberries mulch bushes must be: berries in the bed and on its sides then lie on pure mulch.

After the first strawberry harvest held the second feeding. Per 1 sq.m. area for irrigation scattered on 1.5-2.0 cups of ash under the bushes on the wide side of the path, or watered the infusion of ash (200 g / 10 liters of water). In other years, I applied kemira or a mixture of microelements.

For the first 2 years, I cut off all the whiskers, let the strawberry bushes to root well and form healthy plants. From the 3rd year I cut off the whiskers on the side of wide paths. Strong 2-3 whiskers from the bush directed to the middle of the row. When the rows of strawberries closed, became dense, in the spring or fall after harvesting conducted thinning. I dug out strawberry bushes early aged, low-yielding, ugly, forming small berries. On a meter I left 3-4 bushes. Such thinning was done every 4 years. Sometimes, after disinfection with 1% manganese, I planted (directed) a healthy well-developed whisker to a vacant place. Feeding area for the remaining bushes was increased. Strawberry bushes formed larger berries, lush above ground mass.

The third feeding of strawberries was carried out at the end of September. I brought phosphorus-potassium fertilizers (not more than 60-70 grams per square meter) under the last watering. At the same time, I tried to cut off old, withered, sick, stalking leaves. If there was no time for this procedure, I tried to cover them with mulch, where they rotted until spring.

During vegetation, the main thing for adult strawberries - sufficient watering, but not excessive. Otherwise, the roots get rotted and the bush dies, infecting the surrounding ones. And the second condition is sparse planting. It is necessary to thin unnecessary bushes, especially if initially the plantings were thickened (10 cm).

At about the 4th - 5th year, I left the most developed strawberry whiskers with normal, not elongated internodes and directed them to a wide path. In 1-2 years, a row of young strawberry bushes appeared on the edges of the wide pathway, which I cut off from the old row in the fall. The old two rows were recultivated. Under the digging made full mineral fertilizer. It is needed to quickly decomposed the remains of mulch, made annually under the strawberries in the ridge. The scheme of arrangement of strawberries was changed from two-row to one-row. The distance between the rows was approximately 50, 40-50 cm. Mustache during this period, too, ripped off, leaving 1-2 most developed, directed along the row. Strawberries bear another 4-5-6 years, forming high yields of healthy large berries.

Proper care of strawberries for a great harvest
Transplanting strawberries

Methods of transplanting strawberries

If there is a need to replace the strawberry plot on a new plantation, it can be done in the following ways:

  • to take a new plot,
  • health the old plot and plant young bushes in it.

The plot can be replaced with another, to do all the preparatory work and planting material of the same or other varieties of strawberries.

Maybe the same plot, without changing it within one to two years, rehabilitate and planted with new planting material.

May 1/3-1/4 plot left under the crop. The rest of the area to dig over in the fall and within one to two years to prepare for planting a young plantation. Part of the plot under the strawberries prepare for wintering as usual. On the rest of the plot after the last harvest, prune the strawberry bushes at the level of the root neck. When the bushes dry up, it is necessary to introduce organic matter, recultivate, and sow siderat. It can not be mowed and leave it until spring, or mow, but leave the swath in place. In spring, sod it into the soil and during the warm season until autumn, sow different siderates 2-3 more times, sowing them into the soil when they reach a height of 8-10 cm (before budding). They will improve the structure, reduce or eliminate the weediness of the plot, and replenish nutrients. On the second autumn, perform the entire cycle of work to prepare the soil for planting strawberries. In the fall, in late August, you can plant a new plantation of strawberries or leave planting for the spring. By planting should prepare the planting material.

To ensure that during the hot season strawberries do not burn and do not get sick, in a wide rows sowed winter garlic and sometimes 2 years do not remove it. Strawberries were not sick at all. Treatment with ash in the mulch got rid of slugs. May beetle larvae have not appeared on the plot over the years. Probably a layer of mulch prevented egg deposition. I shaded the strawberry bushes from the summer sun by sowing phacelia along the wide path between the strawberries and garlic. I could use (as gardeners advise) tall tagetes, marigold, cosmea, or plant a row of corn together with garlic.

I do not cover strawberries for the winter. In cold areas, during the days of May and early June frosts, you can use covers of spunbond or other materials. In the morning they must be removed. Otherwise, the ovaries and flowers can die from overheating under the cover.

Thus, by following the basic agronomic techniques, you can grow large and healthy strawberries without frequent replanting. The main thing is to choose zoned varieties of healthy planting material. Carefully prepare the soil. Using the timely irrigation, feeding, thinning, you can grow strawberries in one place not 2-3 years, but up to 7-8 and even 10 years.

Dear readers! Please share with us your experience of growing high yields, methods of soil preparation and care of strawberry plantation, terms of replanting.