Table of contents:
- Varieties of small-fruited remontant strawberries
- Growing strawberry seedlings
- Planting and caring for small strawberries
Video: Growing Small-fruited Remontant Strawberries
Is it worth the candle?
Of all types of strawberries, small-fruited remontant strawberries are the least known and widespread. I think there are two reasons for this: difficulties in acquiring planting material and the lack of reliable information about small-fruited strawberries. However, in recent years, several varieties of small-fruited strawberries have appeared in stores.
In publications for gardeners, they either did not write about her, or wrote what was not entirely true. For example, in 2000, a book by professors L.A. Yezhov and M.G. Kontsevoy "All about berries. New encyclopedia of the summer resident". In this book, two chapters are devoted to strawberries - one common, the other remontant.
Here is what the authors write: "When recommending remontant strawberries for cultivation, we mean large-fruited, and not mustless, which are often planted by amateur gardeners. Mustless remontant strawberries have small berries, propagate by seeds, give a low yield and require a lot of labor."
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Agree, not every amateur gardener, having read such a description of this species, will be interested in small-fruited strawberries. But, giving it, are the authors right, do they know this culture well enough? I am convinced not.
First of all, I want to draw the attention of the authors to what they usually do not take into account. Both types of strawberries - small-fruited and large-fruited - belong to the genus Fragaria (strawberry), which got its name from the Latin word fragaris - fragrant - but to different species. Small-fruited, selected from the forest, belongs to the forest species - Fr. Vescal; large-fruited obtained by selection of clones of non-repaired varieties with a tendency to second fruiting, from pineapple strawberries and belongs to the species Fr. ananassa Duch.
Naturally, each species has its own biological characteristics and, when comparing them, one must take this into account. From the very names of the species, it follows that they have berries of different sizes, but why do the authors of the book think that if strawberries are small-fruited, they should be low-yielding?
I have been growing small-fruited strawberries for more than 10 years and do not agree with this statement. According to my observations, the yield of this strawberry is no less than that of large-fruited, and in some cases even more. Different varieties of small-fruited strawberries, as well as large-fruited, differ from each other in yield, size and taste of berries. Sometimes on the bags with seeds I had to read that with good care you can get 1000 berries from a bush. I did not count their number, but I think this figure is for advertising.
The weight of the berry varies in different varieties from 0.5 to 5-7 g. On 1 m² of the garden, depending on the size of the bush, I plant 9-12 bushes. Consequently, with a berry weight of 1 gram, if we take the number on the bag for granted, the yield would be 9-12 kg / m². In the periodicals I have come across the statement that up to 10 kg of these berries can be harvested per square meter. This is probably the case in theory. But when the yield is indicated at 1.5-2 kg / m², this is already more realistic. This is exactly what I get from my beds and even more. For comparison, the yield of large-fruited strawberry varieties, zoned in the Leningrad region, is indicated in the reference literature at 0.8-1.5 kg / m².
And the advantage of small-fruited strawberries, I consider its extended fruiting, which allows you to have tasty and healthy berries from mid-June to the end of September, while large-fruited remontant strawberries in our conditions give two harvests - the first at the usual time, and the second after a break, in the middle-end August to the end of September. Strawberries, on the other hand, bear fruit for 2-2.5 weeks.
It is impossible not to take into account other advantages of small-fruited strawberries. Compared to large-fruited, it is more frost-hardy, which is of great importance in our region of risky farming, but I must say that I do not cover all types of strawberries for the winter, and I have not had any cases of freezing, except for the English variety Temptation.
But the most important thing, in my opinion, is that small-fruited strawberries suffer little from pests and diseases. For the entire time of cultivation of this culture, I have not had any cases of its disease, including diseases such as white and brown spots, and one of the most dangerous - gray rot. Even in years with high humidity, when all gardeners complained about a large number of ordinary strawberries that died from gray rot, I did not have this on small-fruited. A few berries that were not harvested in time and rotted from contact with moist soil, but not affected by this disease - that's all the losses.
I will name two of the pests: slugs and starlings. But starlings harm for a short time, then gather in flocks and fly away to the fields. It seems to me that large-fruited slugs are more harmful, perhaps because the small-fruited bush is denser, and the peduncles are thin and uncomfortable for them. From birds, the garden bed can be covered with nets or lutrasil, and scarecrows can be placed. Recommended measures to combat slugs - pollination around the bushes with fluff lime, ground superphosphate and potassium salt is ineffective. Parsley, garlic, balsam planted for this purpose around the beds make it difficult to work. In the Ukrainian press, I found this advice: lay cut nettles around the perimeter of the garden bed. During the day, at the time of work, it can be removed, and at the end it can be returned to its original place. I will check this method in the summer.
I am also very surprised by the statement about the high labor costs in growing small-fruited strawberries. Care work for all types of strawberries begins equally with the spring pruning of old leaves. Indeed, it is more difficult to cut off old leaves in small-fruited strawberries - the bush is more closed and cramped, there are many leaves, they are small. But since most varieties of small-fruited strawberries do not have a mustache, this greatly reduces labor costs. The only thing that increases labor costs is growing seedlings, but I do this every three years.
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Varieties of small-fruited remontant strawberries
Although there are already quite a lot of such varieties, few of them have gained popularity and distribution in our country. I will tell you about those that I have bred before or are growing now.
Most varieties of small-fruited remontant strawberries are of foreign selection, but domestic ones also began to be found on sale. For a long time, we have known varieties of Rugen Island and Baron Solimakher. The first of them was bred in the former GDR on the island of the same name. Bushes are dense, closed. The berries are elongated, dense, red in color, there are bushes with white berries. The berries taste sweet and sour, they are dryish, well transported. I mainly used them for jam. Propagated by seeds, but sometimes mustache with quite viable rosettes grow on old bushes.
Baron Solimacher is a Swiss variety. The bush is slightly larger than Rügen, the berries are red, conical in shape, with a pleasant taste and aroma, weighing up to 4 g. It is popular with gardeners.
Now the Weiss (white) Solimacher variety has appeared. Its berries are creamy in color and taste good. The yield is inferior to the red-fruited variety.
Often there is also a variety of Swiss selection - Alexandria - conical red berries, pleasant to the taste, weight up to 4 g.
Ruyana is a Czech variety. The berries are similar to the Alexandria variety, but slightly smaller. The bush is also smaller and more dense. The yield is inferior to the Swiss one.
I really like the Dutch variety Yellow Miracle. Berries are pale yellow in color, more elongated, pleasant to the taste and aromatic. The variety is fruitful. Jam from it of pleasant taste and color with a peculiar aroma.
Recently, varieties of strawberries of domestic selection have appeared - Aromatnaya, Ali Baba and Seasons.
Variety Aromatnaya - not remontant, but with extended fruiting. Fruiting in June-July. The berries are not large, but tasty, very aromatic, red in color. I did not buy seeds of this variety because of the economy of the planting area. But I heard good reviews about him from other gardeners.
The Ali Baba variety is fruitful, has larger bushes, the berries are large, red, up to 5 g in weight, more dry in taste.
The Seasons variety is propagated by seeds and mustaches. Berries weighing 4-7 g are very sweet, tasty and very aromatic. True, there was no "personal acquaintance" with this variety - the package contained seeds of an unknown variety: the berries are smaller than those of Ali Baba's variety, there are no mustaches. So the information given here is taken from the advertisement of the "SeDec" company.
Growing strawberry seedlings
The most common method for breeding small-fruited strawberries is by sowing seeds. Of course, if the strawberry has a mustache, you can propagate it by planting outlets, as is done when planting large strawberries. You can propagate by dividing the bush, I tried this method, but I did not like it. Bushes develop more slowly, age quickly, and yield less yield.
There is an advice to sow strawberries in late February and early March. It is difficult to grow seedlings during these periods in normal home conditions, it lacks heat and light. The seeds sown in these terms do not germinate for a long time, there was a case, I sprouted in 30 days. If you put a container with seeds in the heat, under the battery, the seeds can sprout in 10 days, but then placed on the windowsill, they do not grow for a long time: they do not have enough heat.
And there is no point in rushing. Do not trust the promises that strawberries will harvest in May. Bushes need not only to increase the green mass, but also to get the required amount of positive temperatures. Based on my experience, I sow seeds in mid-April. I prepare containers - boxes of mayonnaise, butter, stuff them with a nutritious mixture. Strawberry seeds are very small and difficult to distribute evenly over the ground. To sprinkle the seeds a little less often, I mix them with dry sand.
Before sowing, I moisten the soil in the container, and after I sprinkle the seeds, I slightly compact it, I tie the container with a film and put it under the battery. When most of the seeds sprout, I transfer the container to the windowsill. Last year I planted strawberries on April 23rd. She ascended a week later.
When the strawberries have 2-3 true leaves, they must be planted in boxes, at least 12 cm high. Last spring, I planted seedlings in nurseries at the end of May. The distance between the plants is at least 5 cm. When it has 5-6 leaves, it's time to plant it in a permanent place. I usually move seedlings to the beds after harvesting onions or garlic, in late July or early August.
Last year, my seedlings were ready in mid-July, some plants bloomed, even had berries. But in the first year of the real harvest you cannot get it, the berries are single, small, uncharacteristic for the variety. Planted in August, strawberry bushes take root well, their growth increases significantly, they winter well. And next summer they will give a full harvest.
Planting and caring for small strawberries
The preparation of the beds for small-fruited strawberries is the same as for large-fruited. I make a bed with a width of 1.2 m, I place three lines of plants on it. Having retreated 10 cm from the edge of the bed, I place the first row of strawberries, retreating another 50 cm - the second, after another 50 cm - the third. The distance between plants in a row, depending on the size of the bush, is 30-40 cm. When planting, I put half a teaspoon of AVA fertilizer into the hole, or a tablespoon of Giant fertilizer for strawberries. In the spring, I remove old leaves, loosen the soil - near the bushes to a depth of 3-4 cm, in the aisles - by 8-10 cm.If in the spring the bushes are lagging behind in growth, I feed with a solution of urea - 15 g (tablespoon) per 10 liters of water. I pour a bucket of solution into 1 m².
Top dressing and watering have a great influence on the yield of strawberries. I try to fertilize with a solution of organic fertilizers - mullein, diluted 6-7 times, or bird droppings - 10-12 times. In my experience, watering with diluted poultry droppings gives the best results. In the absence of organic fertilizers, I feed with a solution of complex mineral fertilizer according to the instructions for its use. I don’t add mineral fertilizer in dry form, I was convinced of the low efficiency of this method. I use it only for digging, when preparing ridges.
I do the first feeding before flowering, the second - at the beginning of the formation of berries, the next - in mid-July and mid-August. The last time I do it at the end of September, so that the strawberries get nourishment before wintering. If there is no rain for a long time in summer, watering is necessary. You need to spend 30 liters of water per 1 m2 per week. For watering, I use an infusion of grass - I dilute 1 liter of infusion in 9 liters of water, adding a glass of ash or a tablespoon of potash fertilizer to a bucket of water.
Watering with herbal solution alternate with watering with "Humata-80" solution. Watering and applying liquid top dressing is necessary at the root so that it does not fall on the leaves. After watering, the soil must be loosened. I harvest in 3-5 days, usually in the morning when the dew dries up. It is impractical to keep strawberry bushes in one place for more than 3 years - the middle horns die off, the bush grows in width, the yield falls.