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Strawberry Remontant Grade Mont Everest
Strawberry Remontant Grade Mont Everest

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Pros and cons of remontant strawberries

strawberry
strawberry

The remontant strawberry variety Mont Everest has been known to our gardeners for more than twenty years - I first read about it in the second issue of the Household Economy magazine in 1983. He interested me, and I tried to find him.

And for many years now I have been breeding this variety. Now there are many new remontant varieties, but I am in no hurry to replace the first one. I appreciate it for the pleasant taste of berries and their beauty, for their productivity. In gardening publications you can find the names Mont Everest and Mount Everest, but we are talking about one variety.

The Mont Everest variety was bred in the south of France, where it gives three harvests per season, and the collection from a bush is 700-950 grams. In our climate, it gives two harvests - a small first in late June-July, the second in August-September. Berries weigh up to 20 g, few small fruits. Berries of regular conical shape, light red, shiny, dense. The pulp is juicy and has a pleasant taste. The ripening of the first berries coincides with the ripening of the early strawberry varieties. According to my observations, the yield of Mont Everest strawberries ranges from 1.2 to 1.5 kg per square meter. Other gardeners in the periodicals report the same harvests.

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The bushes of this variety are low, spreading, even a light snowfall reliably covers them, saving them from freezing. The disadvantage of this variety is that it produces few whiskers, especially in the first year, which makes breeding difficult. In the periodical horticultural literature, I have repeatedly had to read the advice of "experienced" gardeners to propagate the variety Mont Everest and other varieties of large-fruited strawberry seeds. I want to warn against this. In the popular literature for gardeners, scientists, whose knowledge and authority are not questioned, have repeatedly written that seed propagation of large-fruited strawberries is unacceptable for gardeners.

Seed propagation of strawberries is used only by breeders when developing new varieties. Of course, if someone is interested, let them try, but can this method be widely used for breeding strawberries? Definitely - no!

The generally accepted method of vegetative propagation is suitable for gardeners. The Mont Everest variety produces little mustache, so I propagate it by dividing the bushes. To do this, in the fall I notice bushes with larger berries and abundant fruiting, and in the spring I dig them up and divide them into horns. I use the bushes of the second year of fruiting for this. I have heard advice to divide the bushes into horns in the fall. But this method, in my opinion, is good for varieties with normal rather than remontant fruiting. In autumn, in August, remontant varieties have a second, more abundant fruiting, and it is inappropriate to divide abundantly fruiting bushes into horns.

I want to dispel the misconception that wanders from publication to publication in magazines and newspapers. For example, the author of the first article I read about the Mont Everest variety argued that this plant already in the first year gives a mustache, which, growing, simultaneously give flower stalks and immediately begin to bear fruit. This is not true for all varieties of remontant strawberries. In the Cardinal variety, indeed, flower stalks are formed on rosettes of the first order, and sometimes the second, on which berries are tied in size the same as those that were tied to the mother plant.

remontant strawberry Mont Everest
remontant strawberry Mont Everest

But the total number of such berries is not very large, and the rosettes on which they formed do not take root when planting. The Mont Everest variety produces a mustache in limited quantities in the first year of life. I did not notice abundant flowering and fruiting on them. The author of the article argued that it is possible to arrange the mustache vertically, attaching it to the trellis - in this case, they give flower stalks and bear fruit without rooting, but receiving nutrition from the mother bush. Why to do this, he did not specify, but the harvest does not increase, but decreases. And what will happen to the mustache, stretched out on the trellis, with the onset of cold weather? It seems that the author did not have his own experience, but was retelling someone else's, taken from foreign sources. It is regrettable that many authors, without any checking, make "borrowings" and pass them off as their personal experience.

Every gardener strives to get high yields from their beds. The methods for increasing the yield of strawberries are the same for regular and remontant strawberries. In order to obtain stable and significant yields of strawberries, 1-2 years before planting, the soil is refilled with organic and mineral fertilizers. There is ample evidence that such soil preparation gives very good results.

If such preparation was not carried out, then for the spring planting of strawberries, the soil is prepared in the fall, and for early autumn - no later than 15 days. An important element of preparation is the selection of a predecessor. For strawberries, the following vegetable crops are good predecessors: lettuce, spinach, onions, garlic, beetroot, carrots, parsley, radishes. Planting strawberries after legumes (peas, beans) is not entirely desirable, because they can serve as intermediate hosts for a dangerous pest - the strawberry nematode.

As a precursor, cabbage, cucumbers and flowers - asters, lilies and gladioli cannot be used, from which strawberries can become infected with stem nematode. To reduce the number of nematodes, marigolds, calendula, immortelles are planted in the area intended for strawberry beds in May of the previous year. During the flowering period, they, like green manure, are crushed and embedded in the soil.

You can not grow strawberries after potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, since these crops are affected by verticillary, late blight and fusarium wilting, which after that strawberries can also get sick. Cultivation of green manure reduces the stock of infection in the soil and increases its fruiting. Mustard, for example, has a significant fungicidal effect on the causative agent of verticillium wilt - it reduces the amount of the pathogen by 20 times.

In addition, the root secretions of mustard make the insoluble phosphorus of the soil available to plants. It is undesirable to plant strawberries after stubbing raspberries, currants, stone fruits. This promotes the development of root rot. If it is necessary to lay a bed after stubbing, then you must carefully select the roots and sow siderates, for example: rapeseed, mustard, oil radish. In one month, green manure yields 2.5-4 kg of green mass from each square meter, which is equivalent to the introduction of 2 kg of manure. If green manure is embedded in the soil before flowering, then they decompose in the ground faster than manure.

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For planting strawberries, I make beds 1.2 m wide. 15-20 days before planting, I dig the bed with a pitchfork without turning the bed, I add mineral fertilizer for 1 m² for digging - 30 g of superphosphate and 15-20 g of potassium fertilizer. Before planting, I loosen the bed to a depth of 8-10 cm and level it with a rake. Having retreated from the edge 10 cm, I mark the holes for seedlings along the cord. I mark the second row after 50 cm, after another half a meter - the third. There are three rows of lines on the bed.

The distance between the plants in the row is 30 cm. I use these dimensions for the Mont Everest variety and varieties whose bushes are the same size as Mont Everest. For bushes of a different size and size may be different. I add half a teaspoon of AVA fertilizer or a tablespoon of Giant fertilizer for strawberries into the hole. If sockets are used for planting, they can be planted in autumn and spring. It is better to plant earlier in autumn, before August 15th.

In the spring, it is better to plant until mid-May, while the soil has a sufficient supply of moisture. At the same time, you can plant horns when dividing a bush, but I do this in the spring. Like most varieties of ordinary strawberries, I advise you to grow remontant strawberries in one place for no more than three years. Observing the variety Mont Everest, I came to the conclusion that it is advisable to grow it in one place for two years, not counting the year of planting, since in the third year the yield is already noticeably reduced.

Cultivation of remontant strawberry varieties has its own characteristics, but speaking about the Mont Everest variety, I am not saying that all remontant varieties should be grown according to the same scheme. It is known from horticultural literature that in strawberries of normal fruiting, flower buds are laid in autumn, in September-October, when the length of the day decreases to 10-12 hours, and the air temperature decreases.

The main distinguishing feature of remontant strawberries is the ability to lay buds at high temperatures and long daylight hours. In our climatic conditions, remontant strawberries give two harvests. In 2001, a book by professors L. A. Yezhov and M. G. Kontsevoy "All About Berries. A New Encyclopedia of the Summer Resident" was published in Moscow. A separate chapter is devoted in it to remontant strawberries. In it, the authors write: "In the spring, little flower stalks are formed, the yield is low.

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However, even a slight fruiting weakens the plant, delays the second fruiting. Taking this into account, flower stalks that appear in spring are recommended to be removed. "Such advice had to be met more than once, but I do not use them - no matter how small the first crop is, but it ripens completely. Besides, I did not notice that the destruction of flower stalks significantly affects the beginning second fruiting and its size. The authors of the book mentioned write: "The flower buds of remontant strawberries are so early ripening that they manage to form a crop even on rosettes of 1-3 orders of magnitude." is the harvest small?

remontant strawberry Mont Everest
remontant strawberry Mont Everest

The second fruiting begins at the end of July and lasts until autumn. At first, few berries are tied, a significant increase in yield occurs in the second decade of August - early September. But the berries that have set at this time, not all have time to ripen. I once collected over half a bucket of green berries that I had to compost. According to my observations, up to a third of the second harvest of berries does not have time to ripen.

In the literature, I read: "Research carried out in the main Botanical Garden of the USSR Academy of Sciences showed that the second fruiting has the greatest value, since 80-90% of berries ripen in one-two-year-old plants, 60-80% of the total harvest in three-year-old plants." … This information is not much different from my observations. If, according to my observations, there were more unripe berries, this can be explained by the fact that our region is in the zone of risky farming.

I mentioned that this variety produces many flowers and ovaries, starting from the second decade of August. It is necessary to recall the biological characteristics of strawberries - from the beginning of the formation of buds and until the berries are fully ripe, it takes from 35 to 42 days, and from the end of flowering to the beginning of ripening of berries - from 18 to 22 days. In hot, dry weather, flowering passes quickly and, conversely, in bad weather is delayed. I looked through my diary entries and found that normal berry picking was until September 8-10, although I picked a small number of berries later, once it was September 20. It is easy to calculate that the berries set on August 20 and later do not ripen. This probably explains such a large number of unripe berries.

If we want to increase the yield of strawberries of remontant varieties, then by applying well-known and tested agricultural practices, we can achieve this. We must try to increase the first harvest. True, it will always be less than the second, since the first harvest lasts 1.5-2 weeks, in contrast to the longer second. To increase the first yield, strawberries can be grown under small-sized shelters.

You can use a film to cover tunnels, but it seems to me that for these purposes it is better to use a covering material weighing 30-60 g / m². The air temperature under the shelter during the day is 5-10 ° C higher than in the open field, and 2-3 ° C higher in the evening. The soil at a depth of up to 10 cm is 5 ° C warmer, and in a layer of 10-20 cm - by 2 ° C. Flowering and ripening of strawberries occurs 10-20 days earlier. An earlier onset of the first fruiting entails an accelerated onset of the second fruiting.

If the weather is warm during flowering, the film is removed during the day for better pollination of the flowers. It is necessary to open tunnels even during rains. It is necessary to ensure that the temperature in the tunnel does not rise above 30-35 ° C. At the end of the flowering phase and the beginning of ripening of the berries, the shelter can be removed. When the air temperature decreases in August, especially at night, the tunnel must be covered again.

For better development of flower buds in short-day varieties of remontant strawberries (Mont Everest, Geneva, Brighton, etc.), the tunnel should be covered from April to early August with a dark film or dark lutrasil so that the daylight hours for strawberries are no more than 12 hours. For example, to cover the tunnel at 20 o'clock one day and open at 8 o'clock in the morning the next. Observations show that after September 10-15, few berries ripen, and in order for the strawberries to better prepare for wintering, the berries that did not have time to ripen must be picked.

remontant strawberry Mont Everest
remontant strawberry Mont Everest

Even earlier, from August 15, it is necessary to destroy the formed peduncles, and from August 20, a new ovary. In mid-September, the bushes, freed from unripe berries, must be processed, fertilized, as well as large-fruited strawberries, and also loosened between rows, in dry weather - spilled with water. For better formation of flower buds, foliar feeding is done - 15 g of urea is diluted in 10 liters of water and sprayed over the leaves.

This should be done in the spring. At the beginning of growth, spraying with microelements or a mixture of potassium permanganate - 50 g, boric acid - 15 g and 2 g of ammonium molybdate per 10 l of water is effective.

During flowering, plants are sprayed once with 0.01-0.02% zinc sulfate solution. Sprayed in the evening or in cloudy weather.

Someone might get the impression that growing remontant strawberries is a very laborious task and should not be done.

Let's count: regular strawberries bear fruit for 2-2.5 weeks, and berry picking ends in July. In late July - early August, remontant strawberries will begin their second fruiting. Even without additional measures that increase the marketable harvest of strawberries, its yield, as L.A. Yezhov and M.G. Kontsevoy note in their book, is from 1.1 to 1.5 kg. Many authors confirm this yield of remontant varieties.

And I, too, collected the same amount from the Mont Everest garden. For comparison, I present data on the yield of common strawberry varieties according to the book "All About Berries" by the same authors: Zarya - 0.8-1.4 kg / m², Found - 1.1 kg / m², Zenith - 1.6 kg / m², Festivalnaya - 1.2-1.5 kg / m². Isn't it interesting to get the same harvest, but when ordinary strawberries have already borne fruit?

As for labor costs, the following must be said: in the 50s of the last century, a comparative study of the labor costs of growing strawberries, currants and vegetables was carried out at the Moscow Experimental Station. It turned out that strawberries have the lowest labor costs. I think the additional labor costs for growing remontant varieties, added to the costs of growing strawberries, do not exceed the labor costs for growing cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. Now new remontant varieties of strawberries with larger berries, more productive, giving enough whiskers, that is, simpler and less laborious, have been introduced. Therefore, I advise - grow remontant strawberries.

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