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Growing Garden Strawberries According To A Simplified Program (part 2)
Growing Garden Strawberries According To A Simplified Program (part 2)

Video: Growing Garden Strawberries According To A Simplified Program (part 2)

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Video: Growing Strawberries - The Spring Months - (2 of 2) - Yoders' Farm 2023, February
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Fragrant strawberries - every summer

Read the previous part of the article: Growing garden strawberries according to a simplified program (part 1)

Strawberry harvest
Strawberry harvest

Strawberry harvest

Care during the growing season

With the further care of strawberries, in general, there is nothing complicated - you should only strictly follow the "rules of the game". That is, to provide protection against diseases and pests (I put this in the first place, because if they are available, for example, in our climate, there is simply no harvest), as well as balanced nutrition, sufficient irrigation and timely removal of whiskers and old leaves.

Let's start with diseases and pests, I will not list them - the history is long, and they are known to all gardeners. Having tried many options, I came to the conclusion that the most effective with us (again, taking into account the frequent prolonged rains just during the fruiting period of strawberries and the dominance of pests, in particular, in our garden) is to carry out four sprays: two in the spring and two after the end of fruiting. The preparations in both cases are exactly the same - Horus for diseases (gray rot, spotting, etc.) and Actellik for pests (raspberry-strawberry weevil, nematodes, etc.). I'm not talking about the strawberry mite, because in Russia there is not a single acaricide approved for use against it. True, if the three-year principle of strawberry renewal is observed, the problem of the spread of the strawberry mite is not so urgent, since the accumulation of the pest population above the permissible norms does not occur until the third year of operation.

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Perhaps some gardeners will be puzzled by my choice of drugs. Someone will be surprised at the lack of traditional spraying with Bordeaux mixture - believe me, you will spend much less effort on spraying with Horus, and there will be much more sense. Someone will be perplexed - why Actellik, and not Inta-Vir, Iskra and similar drugs practiced by many? Actellic is, of course, a strong drug (safety measures must be observed), but nothing takes such strawberry pests as nematodes, and Actellik, at least, keeps their population at a minimum. So you have to choose the lesser of two evils.

Well, if these pests have passed your strawberries by the side, then, of course, you can choose something simpler from pesticides. Although it is worth noting that even with respect to the weevil familiar to everyone, many other drugs are not effective enough, since they need to be sprayed on plantings only in completely calm weather, when the weevil comes out of shelters, and therefore there is a chance to destroy at least some part of the population, otherwise there is no use there will be no spraying. In our spring, such conditions simply never develop (always during this period there are strong winds), and there was practically no sense from spraying, for example, Inta-Virom - the weevil flourished and multiplied.

As for the number of spraying (perhaps too large in the opinion of a number of gardeners), for information I will give the European standards for the protection system of fruiting strawberries - up to 10 (ten!) Treatments with pesticides, the latter being done 3-5 days before harvest. Of course, as they say, God forbid us from this, because we grow berries for ourselves, for our family. And you won't wish that to an enemy … So my four treatments compared to ten are pure nonsense. Nevertheless, under favorable conditions (when the defeat of gray mold in the current season is within the acceptable limits), I, not being an ardent supporter of the use of any chemistry (chemistry - only to a minimum), reduce the number of treatments to three, excluding the second spraying with Horus.

Well, now let's dwell in more detail directly on the care of strawberries during the growing season. First of all, when you arrive in the spring, you should not rush to make the strawberry look "divine" right away - it is better to do other things first, and let the strawberry wait for the warmth. Why? After all, there will still be cold weather, especially at night, and therefore this culture should not wake up and throw away flower stalks ahead of time. Of course, if you do not intend to put arcs and throw covering material over the ridges, which, in principle, is not bad for getting an early harvest from a limited area. And under the heap of old strawberry leaves, the bushes live warmer, and they better tolerate cold snaps. But when it warms up reliably, around mid-May, it is worth throwing all your strength into the prompt processing of strawberries: removing old leaves,loosening and the first top dressing with urea, which will be enough just to scatter over the garden bed before loosening it. By the way, the leaves should be trimmed very carefully, carefully cutting out the old, dried leaves with scissors (and without jerking with your hands).

Then, after a week, you should carry out a full spring feeding of strawberries with a mullein with the addition of a water-soluble complex fertilizer (with macro- and microelements) or spill the plants with a mullein and sprinkle a little complex mineral fertilizer in each bush in a dry form - this will give the bushes an additional impetus, and they will not begin to develop by the day and by the hour.

Despite the need for spring nitrogen stimulation of plants, you should not overdo it with nitrogen - its excess can cause strong growth of bushes, the formation of a large amount of vegetative mass to the detriment of flowering and more intensive development of gray rot. The use of chlorine-containing fertilizers (I primarily mean potash fertilizers) is also unacceptable - strawberries do not like them.

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Watering as needed. In our zone, at the beginning of the growing season with very strong winds, spring moisture instantly evaporates from the soil. And you have to water a couple of times before flowering, otherwise you will not see the harvest, because the roots of strawberries are located mainly in the arable horizon - only at a depth of 15-25 cm.However, you cannot overdo it with watering, otherwise you cannot avoid other problems in the form of gray rot, capable of the root will ruin the entire crop.

Mulching strawberries greatly simplifies caring for them
Mulching strawberries greatly simplifies caring for them

Mulching strawberries greatly

simplifies caring for them.

Mulching the soil with needles or coniferous branches chopped on a garden shredder will significantly reduce the need for watering. And then you will have to loosen less often. In addition, this will be a good protection of the berries from soil getting on them, which is more than important because of gray rot. True, it is impossible to lay out mulching material too early in the spring - the soil will warm up more slowly. This should be done at the very beginning of the extension of the peduncles. The layer of mulching material should be thicker so that the soil cannot be seen at all.

It is problematic to use other types of mulching materials (straw, etc.) for strawberries under our strawberries due to the nuances of the climate, since after the beginning of flowering strawberries can charge serious rains. In such conditions, leaves, hay, sawdust and straw get wet and begin to rot, which can provoke a more active lesion with cut rot.

As for the black covering material, then for some it goes well, and for someone it may have problems - mostly for two reasons: due to excessive overheating and drying out of the roots under it (this is when it is too hot - this is sometimes us in the Urals, too) and due to the attraction of vipers, which are very fond of wintering under covering material.

It is especially worth mentioning the timely removal of whiskers - this procedure contributes to better plant development and a significant increase in yield (up to 50% - and this is by the most conservative estimates!). When removing the mustache, in no case should you jerk the plants, stubbornly trying to tear off the mustache - it is better to use scissors, since when you try to break off the mustache, you can injure the plants, which will not add to the harvest. Also, during the period of active fruiting, if possible, it is worth running through the beds a couple of times and checking the condition of the brushes - the brushes lying inside the bushes need to be raised by wrapping them around the leaves, or even to install special stands around the bushes for raising the brushes (I, however, now limit myself to just wrapping around leaves).

Brushes with berries should be raised above the soil
Brushes with berries should be raised above the soil

Brushes with berries should be raised

above the soil

After picking the berries, you need to help the strawberries gain strength and lay flower buds for the next year. Therefore, without fail, immediately after collecting the last berries from the bushes, all old leaves are cut off, and the plants are fed with complex fertilizer (you can simply sprinkle the fertilizer dry after rain) and mullein infusion. In our climate, in the second half of summer, it is also often necessary to carry out separate fertilizing with potassium fertilizers (potassium sulfate), if there is a need for that (when potassium reserves are washed out of the soil by torrential rains).

In addition, if the strawberries grew without mulching material, you will need to loosen the soil around the bushes well. And do not forget about spraying with Horus and Actellik mentioned above. When spraying with Horus, the temperature should be controlled - if it is too warm, then you need to wait for a cooler time, since this drug has limitations in temperature conditions (it is not recommended to carry out processing at an air temperature above + 22 ° C).

Successful wintering

As you know, strawberries are not very hardy. Therefore, only zoned varieties should be planted. However, this is not a panacea either. For two reasons. In autumn, it happens that frosts come down to –8 … –10 ° С in the absence of snow, and strawberries freeze (at such temperatures leaves and flower buds freeze, and even whole bushes in case of more severe frosts). Plants that are poorly prepared for winter are especially affected. For comparison, it is worth noting that, under the snow, zoned strawberry varieties generally winter well and can tolerate a drop in temperature to -20 … -30 ° C. Therefore, with the onset of autumn cold weather without snow, you should build a temporary shelter for plants, throwing in a covering material - leaving such a shelter for the winter in our conditions may turn out to be risky due to the danger of spring damping of strawberries.

In the spring, when snow is abundant, periodically, with a strong rise in temperatures, there is water under the snow, and here the bushes are already blown out or soaked, which, however, does not make much difference for gardeners. Although there is no year on year here - there are minor attacks, there are also significant losses. To some extent, the risk of such losses can be reduced by periodic (during thaws) piercing of snow on strawberry plantations, and in areas where, due to physical reasons, a lot of it accumulates, it is desirable to spray ash or sand in spring in order to melt faster. Fortunately, damping and soaking of plants does not happen in every area (someone is lucky in this regard) - it all depends on the amount of snow formed during the winter, which can vary greatly from site to site (at leastwith us) and depends on the direction of the winds, the location of fences and a number of other factors.

And, finally, in the spring, after the snow melts in open areas, cold weather can reappear, and here, as a rule, freezing of flower buds is possible again. In this case, the timely throwing of covering material on the planting of garden strawberries, which can be left on the plantations until the stage of active protrusion of peduncles, will also help.

Svetlana Shlyakhtina, Yekaterinburg

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