HomeGardening Tips And AdviceHow To Grow Strawberries At Home

How To Grow Strawberries At Home

Strawberries are the most popular fruit crop for home grow­ers. In big home plantings, strawberries can also be cultivated as a cash crop.

Strawberries, on the other hand, are a versatile and nutrient-dense berry. One cup of fresh berries contains more Vitamin C than the recommended daily adult intake.

If you follow proper strawberry cultural techniques, you should be able to collect at least a quart of berries per five feet of row.

An initial planting of about 125 plants will usually supply enough fresh strawberries for a household of four, as well as enough for freezing or preserving.

Strawberries are delicious fruits that can be used in a variety of dishes for your family or children, including strawberry ice cream, strawberry salad, strawberry jam, strawberry muffins, strawberry pie, and so on.

So, what are your thoughts? I believe we have just persuaded you to grow strawberries in your own backyard so that you may be assured of their freshness.

Consider the following factors before deciding to plant strawberries:

  • Site selection for strawberries
  • Selection of strawberry plants
  • Site preparation for strawberries
  • Planting and multiplication of strawberries
  • basic strawberry care, which includes fertiliser, restoration, and irrigation
  • Mulching strawberries
  • picking strawberries
  • Pest control using strawberries

Site selection for strawberries

The best strawberries are grown in full sun for the majority of the day. Shady areas encourage more vegetative development but produce fewer fruits. Because shady areas are frequently wetter than sunny areas, they have more disease problems.

Drought-stressed strawberries have greater disease problems and produce less than those that have gotten adequate water. Irrigation water should be provided all year to help the plants withstand dry spells.

Strawberries grow best in soil that has a pH range of 6.0 to 6.5. Strawberry plants should not be planted in low regions since they are prone to late spring frost. Prior to planting new strawberries, the location should not have been utilised for any type of berries, tomatoes, potatoes, or peppers. This aids in the prevention of diseases such as tomato ring spot virus and root rot.

Selection of Strawberries

While there are many strawberry types to pick from, the performance of each is heavily determined by the growing circumstances and environment in the area. When selecting a strawberry cultivar, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Choose strawberry kinds that are native to your area.
  • Only accept plants that appear to be in good health and are virus-free. Purchase plants from a reputable nursery and place orders as soon as they are available. Make sure to include a delivery deadline.
  • If only one kind of strawberry is planted, most strawberries will provide a good crop. Spring Giant and Apollo, on the other hand, are exceptions and should be pollinated by planting within 25 feet of another type. Planting multiple varieties is usually a good idea. If you have several types, a disease or cold is less likely to destroy your entire planting.
  • Planting types that ripen at different periods can extend the fruiting season.
  • Take into account the variety’s preservation qualities as well as its disease and pest resistance.
  • Select your favourite strawberry kinds. Sweet berries are preferred by some, whereas tart berries are preferred by others.
  • Select strawberry types that bloom at the times you specify. Early-season cultivars ripen in the months of May and June. In mid-May to mid-June, mid-season cultivars ripen. In late May to mid-June, late-season cultivars ripen. Ever bearing bear berries from mid-May to mid-June, with a few more berries later in the summer and again in the fall. Fruit size and quality may be less than ideal compared to other types, and total output is frequently lower than that of June-bearers. Some sources classify Tennessee Beauty as a June-bearer, while others classify it as an ever-bearer.

Soil preparation for strawberries

Wait a year before planting strawberries if the area is covered in grass sod. Use that year to eradicate grass and grubs, as well as to construct the beds and add extra drainage if necessary.

Before planting strawberries, get the soil evaluated many months ahead of time.

To create a weed-free planting space, till the soil. Beds should be narrow enough for easy harvesting, usually little more than three feet wide. Organic materials, such as straw, manure, peat moss, or compost, can be added to the soil several weeks before planting by ploughing or tilling it in. Mix the necessary fertiliser and lime into the soil two to three weeks before planting. Allow the beds to settle naturally or apply sprinklers.

Planting and propagation of strawberries

Strawberries are propagated by cutting rooted runners from mother plants and transplanting them to a new strawberry bed. Patented cultivars are not allowed to be propagated for personal use or for resale.

During the winter months, sufficient soil moisture is required for proper root development. Plants should not be planted in dry, windy conditions or if extreme cold weather is forecast during the next few days.

Remove all but two or three of the plants’ most robust leaves before planting. Depending on the vigour of the cultivar, space the strawberries 1.5 to 2.5 feet apart. This distance will allow plants to establish runners in the row while maintaining the middle between the rows clear of plants, as the strawberry has the capacity to create 30 to 50 runner plants in its first year of growth.

Inquire about plant spacing recommendations for the types you’ve chosen from your nursery representative. After the dirt has been firmed around the roots, plant the strawberries so that the crowns (where the leaves emerge) are even with the ground surface.

This is critical because plants that are planted too deeply will rot, while those planted too shallowly will dry up and perish. In the planting hole, spread the roots out a little. If you tug on a leaf, the soil should keep the plant in place, but not so tightly that the plants are crushed.

When planting the strawberries with a hand trowel, press it about six inches into the prepared soil and then pull it forward to open the hole. Remove the trowel and place the plant in the hole at the desired depth. Then, place the trowel in front of the plant and draw the trowel forward to harden the soil. Give each plant at least a pint of water after it has been set.

Allowing plants to dry out during the planting process is not a good idea. Place the plants in a container with just enough water to keep the roots moist while each bundle of plants is opened. It may be easier to plant if the roots are trimmed somewhat using scissors or a sharp knife to make them fit into the hole more easily.

To reduce disease concerns associated with moist foliage, an irrigation system such as a leaky pipe or other drip irrigation is recommended. These devices help save water that would otherwise be lost due to evaporation and runoff.

Growing conditions for strawberries

The first year

Runner strawberry plants develop from mother plants and take root over the summer. Plants build up food reserves and create fruit buds for the following year’s yield in the fall. For the best development of new plants and fruit buds, the plants must be kept healthy.

Strawberry plants have shallow roots and need to be watered frequently after transplantation. If there is little or no rain for two weeks in the spring or summer, use enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of 12 inches. This normally necessitates a one-inch application of water.

Spread 1.5 pounds of ammonium nitrate every 100 feet of row between August 15 and September 15.

This will provide enough nitrogen for fruit bud development. Make sure the leaves are dry before applying the fertiliser, then brush the fertiliser off the leaves as soon as possible. If rain isn’t predicted for another day or two, apply around one inch of water.

During the first season, remove all blossoms for the tastiest strawberries and best yield the next year. Allowing berries to develop the first year will diminish plant growth, runner development, and the crop the following year.

In years that follow

Take a soil sample from the beds in the spring. Renovate your strawberry planting after you’ve finished picking them. After the fruit is harvested, renovation entails shortening the strawberry rows and controlling weeds. This is required in order to maintain the strawberry bed’s health and productivity.

With a hoe, narrow the rows to eight to ten inches. At this time, control weeds and add any fertiliser that is required. After the renovation, water the strawberry plants. To properly timing irrigation for best weed control, read the label on any herbicides used.

If weeds are outgrowing the strawberries, there may be too much nitrogen in the soil, and nitrogen fertiliser applications should be reduced. Otherwise, follow your Extension educator’s fertiliser recommendations based on your soil test findings.

Follow the same fertiliser and maintenance guidelines as the first year (watering, fall nitrogen application, and winter frost protection). Strawberry beds that have been properly nurtured should last three to five years of harvest.

Mulching strawberries

Because of their own shadow, a well-established row of robust strawberry plants will provide a mulching effect. A winter coating of straw or similar mulch over the row of strawberry plants may be beneficial. This winter mulch is intended to protect plants from excessive freezing and thawing, as well as drying from winter winds.

Mulch should be used between mid-December and late-December, after several hard frosts. The plants have developed cold resilience by this point. Mulching earlier in the season may cause major injury to the plants throughout the winter since they will not have developed the necessary cold tolerance. Straw should be laid out loosely to cover the entire row to a depth of three to four inches.

When the initial strawberry plant development occurs in the spring, the mulch must be removed (usually March). Lift some of the mulch and check the plants beneath it to identify the correct time. If new leaves have begun to form, they will be light green in colour. The mulch can be removed or raked to the side of the row at this point. If further frost is forecast, the mulch can be easily replaced over the row.

It’s fine to leave some mulch in the berry row as long as the foliage and blossom stalks may develop. This will keep the fruit free of soil and soil-borne diseases. The mulch aids in strawberry picking during wet spells, reduces hail damage, reduces erosion of new strawberry beds, and aids in weed management. By delaying plant development and flowering, winter mulch may help avoid some spring frost injury.

Mulches made of fabric are also available. They’re usually hung from hoops that arch over strawberry beds. To protect the cloth from blowing away, the edges are covered with earth or weighted with bricks or other things. When the flowers begin to blossom, the fabric mulch must be removed to allow bees to pollinate the flowers.

You can expect a poor crop if you don’t. Remove the mulch if the plants are pale green in colour and have not yet begun to blossom. This will allow more sunshine to reach the plants. Remove the dirt or other weight from one edge and the ends of the cloth mulch to remove it. Fold the cloth from the plants and arrange it in a row on one side of the strawberries. I

f there is a risk of frost in the evening, this makes it simple to replace the fabric. If the fabric is in good condition, it can be folded and kept for the next season when it is no longer needed. Fabric mulches appear to offer some protection from hail damage if they are in situ at the time of the storm.

Harvesting strawberries

Depending on the cultivar and circumstances, it might take anywhere from 18 to 45 days from strawberry bloom to first strawberry harvest. Strawberries should be picked when they reach the desired stage. Color development during ripening differs between varieties. When fully ripe, some are pink, while others are scarlet or even dark red. The simplest way to tell when to pluck the berries is to taste them.

Pick the fruit in the cooler part of the day for the optimum storage life (3-10 days in the refrigerator, depending on handling and variety). Keep the caps on until you’re ready to use the fruit. Choose kinds with long necks rather than sunken caps if you wish to freeze or process the berries because the caps are easier to remove.

Pest control for strawberries

Strawberries are prone to a number of illnesses and insects. Aphids, spider mites, white (root) grubs, strawberry leaf rollers, slugs, pill bugs, and nematodes are the most common animal pests.

or these pests, there are a variety of chemical control alternatives. Homeowners may prefer to use gentler pest control methods, such as resistant varieties (when available), soaps for aphid and spider mite control, specific Bacillus thuringiensis preparations for grub and leaf roller control, beer traps for slugs and pillbugs, and planting marigolds the year before strawberry planting for nematode control.

Bacterial and fungal leaf spots, powdery mildew, leaf scorch fungus, leaf blight, grey mould and other fruit rots, red stele root rot, verticillium wilt, different viruses, and nematode-caused diseases are all diseases that affect strawberries.

The simplest technique of disease control is to plant resistant cultivars. This strategy will only work if the plants are resistant to the disease strain that exists in your area.

The most critical factor is to secure disease-free, healthy plants. Strawberry plants show few signs of viral infection, but infected plants grow slowly and produce few fruits. Obtaining certified plants from virus-free stock is critical. Selecting virus-resistant types may also be beneficial. The majority of strawberry plant nurseries have disease-free plants on hand.

Fruit rots and leaf spot can occur when the ripening time coincides with chilly, gloomy, rainy weather. Because of the rather humid climate in the eastern part of the state, these situations are common. When the plants are overcrowded, have grasses and other weeds in the row, or have received too much nitrogen fertiliser, the problems are usually more serious.

Herbicide damage is a typical problem with strawberry plants. While weed management is crucial in strawberry beds, herbicides must be used with caution to avoid harming the plants. Hand weeding is a good idea where possible.

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