How to grow Strawberry

Ultimate Guide How to grow Strawberry

How to grow Strawberry: Strawberry (Fragaria ananasa) is a worldwide cultivated shrub belonging to the family Rosaceae. Strawberry is highly valued for its attractive color, aroma, taste, and high nutritional properties. Although strawberry is a vitamin C-rich fruit, they contain profound amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is not only eaten directly as a fruit but also widely used to enhance the beauty and aroma of various foods. Strawberry is a fruit of temperate region, it is being cultivated commercially in various countries. At present, plant breeders have developed some high yielding varieties of strawberry suitable for cultivation in different weather and region. Strawberry cultivation is very profitable because it is sold at a very high price in the market.

Nutritional properties and uses of strawberry

Strawberry is a very nutritious fruit. In every 100 grams of fruit contain following nutrients-

Nutrients Amount
Water 91.8 ml
energy 30 kcal
Protein 0.61 g
Fat 0.38 g
Sugar 6.01 g
Crude fiber 2.29 g
Calcium 13.69 mg
Iron 0.38 mg
Magnesium 9.82 mg
Phosphorus 18 .75 mg
Potassium 16.00 mg
Vitamin C 57.00 mg
Niacin 0.23 mg
Vitamin A 26.00 I.U

Jam, jelly, squash, juice, ice cream, candy, etc. can be made from strawberries. Strawberries can be used in mixed fruit cocktails. Strawberry puree can be stored for a long time in the refrigerator.

Soil and Climate

Strawberries are mainly mild winter crops. But some varieties are heat tolerant and they are called summer varieties. These varieties require 20-26 degrees Celsius day temperature and 12-18 degrees Celsius night temperature. Dry weather is required when flowers and fruits come. Fertile loam to sandy loam soils ideal for strawberry cultivation.

How to grow Strawberry

Step-by-step growing strawberry discussed below-

Seedling production

Strawberry has a narrow vine-like stem emerging from the compacted phase joints adjacent to the ground, which grows parallel to the ground above the soil and expands some distance to produce roots at the bottom and bits at the top. It’s called Runner. Strawberries breed through runners. Therefore, without destroying the previous year’s plant it is necessary to uproot it from the ground and plant it in a gentle shady place rich in the organic matter.

When the roots emerge from the runner, it should be cut and put in a seedbed or polythene bag with 50 percent organic manure and 50 percent loamy soil and stored in a gentle shaded nursery. Before planting a runner, the soil of the seedbed or polybag should be cleaned.

15 cm thick rice husk or saw-dust (sawmill powder) should be spread on the seedbed and burned to destroy the germs in the soil of the seedbed. in case of using it in a polybag, at first, a 15 cm thick mixture of soil and organic manure should be spread and then 15 cm thick rice husk or saw-dust (sawmill powder) spread on it and burned it with fire to purify.

To protect the seedlings from excessive rains, polythene canopy should be provided on the seedlings during the rainy season. As the species is propagated through runners, the yield of strawberries gradually decreases. Therefore, in order to maintain the yield of the species, it is better to produce seedlings through tissue culture every year.

Land preparation and planting of seedlings

It is necessary to prepare the land by plowing and laddering several times and especially by removing other weeds including perennial weeds. To destroy soil-borne pathogens bleaching powder should be sprayed 15-20 days before planting the seedlings at the rate of 30 gm-percent and mixed well with the soil.

Strawberry beds can be cultivated in a flat system. However, to cultivate through the fertigation method, the bed method has to be followed. A bed 1 meter wide and 10-15 cm high should be made. A 30-50 cm ditch should be placed between the two beds. Seedlings should be planted 20-40 cm apart in two rows at a distance of 30-50 cm per bed. Seedlings should be planted sparsely for early planting and dense for late planting.

Spring (usually March or April) is the best time to plant strawberry seedlings.

Fertilizer application

It is necessary to apply a moderate amount of fertilizer regularly in the strawberry field in order to get a high yield. For medium fertile land 30 tons of decomposed dung, 250 kg urea, 175 kg TSP, 200 kg MOP, 115 kg gypsum, 12 kg boric acid and 6 kg zinc sulfate fertilizer can be applied per hectare.

During the last plowing, all the cow dung, TSP, gypsum, boric acid, and zinc sulfate fertilizers should be applied on the soil and mixed well with the soil. For the fertilization method, 200 kg urea and 150 kg MOP fertilizer should be applied by drip irrigation mixed with irrigation water in 5-6 consecutive installments 15-20 days after planting.

Read the relative article: How to fertilize vegetable garden

Irrigation and Drainage

Irrigation should be given as required if there is a shortage of moisture in the soil. Strawberries cannot tolerate waterlogging at all. Therefore, it is necessary to make arrangements for quick drainage of excess rain or irrigation water. In the method of fertigation, irrigation water is applied directly to the base of the plant by dripping through the tube. This ensures moderate use of water and eliminates the possibility of water-logging.

How to care for the strawberry plant by the application of mulch

How to care for the strawberry

Mulch is essential in strawberry production because the fruit rots when it comes in direct contact with the soil. This fruit is called strawberry because the straw was used as mulch at the beginning of the cultivation. 20-25 days after planting the seedlings the strawberry beds should be covered with straw or black polythene.

Necessary care should be taken so that the ants do not attack the straw. Mix 3 ml of Darsban 20 EC and 2 g of Bavistin DF with a liter of water and refine the straw in that solution so that it does not attack the ants and remains intact for a long time. Strawberry lands should always be kept free from weeds. An appropriate weed killer can be used. Runners come out regularly from the base of the plant. Runners have to be cut every 10-15 days. The flowers and fruits production of the plants decreases if the runner is not cut regularly.

Production of strawberries by fertigation method

In the fertigation method, chemical fertilizer is mixed with water and applied to the plant. Water-soluble fertilizers are used in the fertigation method. Required fertilizer and water are applied together at the base of the plant. Fertigation method ensures moderate use of fertilizers and irrigation in crop production and yield increases by 25-40 percent over conventional methods.

This method requires 45-50 percent less fertilizer. The role of the fertigation method is very important in conserving the environment. Almost all the applied fertilizers are absorbed by the plants due to application in a controlled environment. As a result, unused fertilizers do not contaminate surface and groundwater.

Production of crops in this method reduces the spread of soil and water-borne diseases. Fertigation-drip irrigation is a very useful method for producing high-value crops. About 75% of the strawberries produced worldwide are grown in a plastic-culture manner. Necessary fertilizers and water are supplied in plastic culture method.

The expected yield is obtained and it is possible to get more profit by cultivating the crop in the fertigation method. Although the cost of this method is high in the initial stage, it is possible to reduce the cost through long-term use.

Advantages of the fertigation method

  • It is possible to produce 15-20 tons of strawberries per hectare by the fertigation method.
  • This method requires 50-55% less urea and 25% less potash than the conventional method.
  • 45-48% less irrigation water is required than conventional furrow and flood irrigation system.
  • Since there is no possibility of waterlogging in the irrigation system and water does not seep from one tree to another, the incidence of pests is less in this method than in flood or furrow irrigation method.
  • The ratio of income to the expenditure of strawberry cultivation in the fertigation method is 6: 1 and it is possible to get more profit per hectare by cultivating strawberries in a controlled environment.
  • At present all the materials of this advanced method are made locally.
  • Fertigation method is very useful in saline and drought-prone areas and hilly areas.
  • The cost of irrigation in this method less than the traditional method.

Disease and pest management

Leaf spot disease: Brown spots are seen on the leaves. The yields, and quality of the fruit decreases. Appropriate fungicide should be sprayed at the right time.

Fruit rot disease: Water-soaked brown or black spots are seen on the fruit. The spots grow rapidly and the fruit becomes unfit to eat. Appropriate fungicide should be sprayed at the right time before the fruits ripen

Crown rot: The young leaves of infected trees fade and fall off which quickly spreads to the whole tree. When the infestation is high, the tree turns brown and dies. Crown disease is caused by a fungus called Phytophthora.

Infected crowns turn brown or light pink along the middle of the stem when dissected vertically along the middle. The disease is more prevalent in waterlogged soils and humid climates. The land should be kept dry. If you use polythene mulch, it should be removed.

Diathene M45 or Ridomyl Gold 75 WP or Secure fungicide at the rate of 2 gm per liter of water should be sprayed on the roots and soil of the plant 2-3 times in a row for 10-15 days. However, if Ridomil Gold 85WP and Secure are applied together, good results can be obtained. For every hectare of land, 5 kg Trichoduma viridi can be mixed well with 25 kg of organic manure and applied at the base of the tree to control Crown rot, Verticillium wilt, and other soil-borne fungi.

Verticillium wilt: Infected trees suddenly become weak and fade. When the infestation is high, the tree turns brown and dies. When the affected crown is segmented vertically along the middle, it fades-pale yellow along the middle of the stem. The disease is more prevalent in waterlogged lands. The land should be kept dry. If you use polythene mulch, it should be removed.

15-20 days before planting the seedlings in the soil, the disease germs are destroyed by spraying stable bleaching powder at the rate of 30 gm-percent and mixing it well with the soil. Copper fungicides like Bordeaux Mixer (1:1:10) should be sprayed 2-3 times every 8-10 days by soaking the roots and soil well. For every hectare of land, 5 kg Trichodama viridi is mixed well with 25 kg of organic manure and applied at the base of the tree to get good results.

Birds: Birds are the biggest enemies of strawberries. The infestation of birds begins before the fruit is fully ripe. Birds spoil ripe and semi-ripe fruits and become unfit for consumption.

Remedy: Birds can be repelled by using light-reflective plastic or silver strips or by making noise in the garden. After the fruit comes, the whole bed should be covered with the net so that the birds cannot eat the fruit.

Virus: In the attack of viral disease, the yield and quality of strawberries are reduced. The virus is spread by whiteflies. The spread of the virus can be prevented by spraying the pesticide Admire 200 SL at the rate of 0.25 ml per liter of water.

Mite: Strawberry yield and quality are severely disrupted by mite attack. In their attack, the leaves turn brown and thicken and gradually shrink. The normal growth of the tree is disrupted. Vertimek 017 EC spidericide should be mixed with 1 ml per liter of water and sprayed 2-3 times in 10 days interval.

Fruit collection and preservation

Fruit collection of Bari Strawberry-1 planted in the middle of Bhadra month starts from Poush month and lasts till Falgun month. The fruit has to be collected when the fruit ripens and turns red. The storage period of strawberries is very short.

After collecting the fruits should be wrapped with a tissue paper immediately and stored in plastic baskets or egg trays in such a way that the fruits are not crammed. Fruits should be marketed as soon as possible after collection. It is better to cultivate strawberries near big cities as they have low storage quality and transport tolerance.

Mother plant maintenance

Strawberry is a heat and water sensitive plant. It cannot tolerate intense sunlight and heavy rainfall. Light shade should be provided during intense sunlight. Otherwise, after harvesting the fruit, the mother plant should be picked, planted in a tub, and kept in the shade. To protect the mother plant from the harmful effects of intense heat and heavy rains healthy and vigorous plants can be picked up and planted under a polythene tent after picking the fruit. Runners produced from the mother plant are used as seedlings.

Yield

35-40 thousand seedlings can be planted per hectare. An average of 250-300 grams per plant yields 10-12 tons of strawberries per hectare. It is possible to produce about 15-20 tons of strawberries by the fertigation method.

Abraham M. Johnson
 

Abraham is a professional gardener and his hobby is indoor and outdoor gardening! He has been gardening for the last 5 years and he loves to decorate the home by gardening as well. Based on his experience with different types of gardens; he is sharing his thought and opinion about various gardens care tips and tools so that a beginner can get started right away. Find him on twitter here. Happy reading!

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