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Video: Growing Garden Strawberries According To A Simplified Program (part 1)
Fragrant strawberries - every summer
Garden strawberries (popularly often called strawberries or victoria) are probably the most popular of our berry crops. This is a kind of queen among summer berries, which is not surprising - its fruits are beautiful, tasty and, moreover, healthy.
In general, there are a lot of advantages, only that the trouble with it, as they say, is full of mouth, and every year there are more of them due to the more active development of diseases and pests. The situation is especially rapidly deteriorating in collective orchards, where there are many small plots where the correct crop rotation is difficult, because in a small area it is problematic to move strawberries far enough from the previous location when renewing plantings. In addition, neighbors who have a similar picture in such gardens are close by - as a result, truly ideal conditions are created for the development of any evil spirits, which is becoming increasingly difficult to cope with. Yes, and strength does not increase with age. And eternal questions arise: "How to be?" and "What to do?"
On our site, where strawberries do not claim to be the most important crop in the garden and vegetable garden, I followed the path of least resistance. More precisely, she cut down her once vast plantation to very small beds (deciding that less is better, but better) and tried to develop a kind of simplified care program for this crop, which I share with readers in this article.
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Competent choice of location and soil
Garden strawberries can actually grow in partial shade (for example, under the crowns of fruit trees), where they form powerful leaves and many mustaches, but, alas, not berries. And gray rot in the shade, at least in the Middle Urals, where I live, is much more affected.
And to get a high yield, this crop requires a lot of light, so it makes sense to plant strawberries only on well-lit ridges. Otherwise, you will more than work out on pruning mustache and old leaves, and it is unlikely that it will come to picking berries.
It is easier with soil - garden strawberry grows on different types of soils, although it prefers light, slightly acidic soils, rich in organic matter - light and medium loamy or sandy. Swampy or heavy clay soils are completely unsuitable for this culture - when planted in low swampy areas, the winter hardiness of plants is greatly reduced, they grow poorly, and in winter they most often get wet.
Four-line strawberry planting:
first (top) and third years
Timely renewal of plantations
In theory, strawberry plants can live up to 20 years or more, but this is ideal. In practice, after 3-4-5 years of fruiting, strawberries sharply reduce the yield, and it becomes almost meaningless to care for the plantation. The maximum productivity in plants occurs in the second year of fruiting, and in the third year, the yield and quality of berries already begin to decline due to a decrease in the energy potential of the bushes. So, one cannot do without more or less regular renewal of strawberry plantations. With intensive cultivation technology, strawberries are renewed after three years, but if you are not chasing the maximum yield, then you can let the strawberries grow for the fourth year, but no more; five years is officially considered the deadline, but in general, strawberries in the fifth year are already unprofitable - there is a lot of work, but little sense. So figure it out …
It turns out that in all senses it is more profitable to keep three or four (depending on the lifespan of a particular bed) small regularly updated beds of different ages than perennial strawberry plantations. Every year, the oldest of these beds is eliminated, transferred to the garden, and a new ridge is laid in its place, planting a well-rooted mustache on it. It is imperative to lay a new ridge in a new place, that is, on an area where strawberries have not grown for at least 3-4 years. If possible, it is done away from the old site. As a rule, for a new plantation, a garden bed is chosen from under vegetables - best of all from under the arrow (winter) garlic, which is harvested early (and this place, accordingly, is freed up for planting strawberries).
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Growing planting material
Only the very first whiskers need to be rooted for planting, all subsequent whiskers driven out by strawberries are cut off, because in any case they will be weaker - which means that the return on them next year will be lower, which is not profitable for you.
For faster rooting, the mustache chosen on the most productive plants should be planted in pots (ideal seedling pots, in which the bottom is removed) with soil mixed with soil hydrogel in the proportion: 200 ml of ready-made gel (that is, with water) per 1 liter soil. This will prevent possible drying out of the soil in the pots, and, accordingly, accelerate the rooting of the whiskers. If a hydrogel is not available, you can instead add finely chopped sphagnum moss to the potting mix, which also retains moisture well. The moisture content of the soil in the pots must be monitored very carefully. At the slightest drying out, the pots are carefully watered (often this operation has to be carried out daily). Strawberry planting material grown in pots on a soil hydrogel,turns out to be of better quality - the plants have strong beautiful leaves and a more developed root system.
Seedling is considered good if the plant has at least three developed leaves, a strong heart and a well-developed root system (at least 6-7 cm long). The leaves should be on short, not long, petioles. Why? If the petioles are short, it means that the seedlings grew with sufficient lighting and did not experience any inconvenience (that is, in greater comfort) and, as a result, will continue to develop more actively. Long petioles indicate strongly thickened plantings. Plants growing from such seedlings are distinguished by lower potential strength and endurance, and, therefore, are not able to form a large harvest (sometimes they even survive during the winter). The more leaves are formed in seedlings, the thicker the horn and the more powerful the root system, the greater the yield can be obtained from such plants in the next year.
It should also be noted that with the most favorable outcome (the mustache was dug into the pots on time, the bushes were well lit and watered in a timely manner, the weather did not disappoint) young plants will be able to form even 5-6 full-fledged additional horns by the end of summer - this will be the key to obtaining high harvest next year.
Ridge with a four-line landing in the third year
By itself, planting strawberry planting material when laying a new plantation is nothing special. It is necessary to carefully spread the roots of the plants and squeeze them a little with earth, without filling the apical bud (the bud should be at the level of the soil), and water well. On insufficiently fertile soils, before that, it may be necessary to apply a certain amount of humus and complex fertilizers with macro- and microelements, but without much enthusiasm, since strawberries "fatten" on over-fertilized soils.
As for the schemes and planting density, nuances are possible here - among the most common schemes are one-line and two-line planting schemes. However, now in farms that use intensive technology for the production of garden strawberries (this technology is borrowed in Holland), they often choose a four-line option for planting this crop, due to the characteristics of the technology used. In my opinion, this option is much more promising in terms of using the area, and I intuitively came to it many years ago. True, I, of course, do not have some technique that specialists in Holland use, and the beds are now quite small, and due to the limited time I do not follow them very regularly.Therefore, when the bushes grow, the rows on my ridges (initially four-line ones) are not always ideally observed - sometimes you will not notice a good mustache in time, and then it is not possible to transplant it by hand, and as a result, unplanned specimens appear in an initially even row. Such plants, if they do not greatly interfere with other strawberry bushes, I leave in place without transplanting. If they interfere, I transplant or remove. The processing of four-line ridges does not cause difficulties, since you can easily reach any plant from the paths.since you can easily reach any plant from the paths.since you can easily reach any plant from the paths.
An approximate variant of the distances when planting in several lines is as follows - about 15-20 cm between plants in a row and about 30-35 cm between rows. Although everything here is rather relative - in the sun you can plant a little denser, with light shading (if you could not find a better place on the site) - less often. In addition, less often plants are planted with a 4-5-year strawberry turnover, since the bushes grow strongly. Finally, when choosing distances in the planting scheme, the characteristics of the variety should also be taken into account.
The best time for planting strawberries is the second half of August (in some regions, even September). However, you should not delay planting - if you want to get a harvest from new beds at an earlier date and a larger volume, then young plants should be planted as early as possible. With a late plantation, the next year's harvest will not please you, it may not even be there at all. Of course, the planting material must be of high quality, otherwise all your work will go to waste.
Read the end of the article: Growing garden strawberries according to a simplified program (part 2)
Svetlana Shlyakhtina, Yekaterinburg
Photo by the author