- How to choose the right variety
- Preparing potting mix for growing
- Seedling preparation and planting in the ground
- Growing strawberry seedlings from seeds
- Basic rules for caring for room strawberries
- Growing strawberries in plastic bags
- How to properly prepare bags for planting seedlings
- Organization of an irrigation system for watering a strawberry plantation
Strawberries are a healthy gourmet product that adults and children love. It strengthens the immune system and supplies the body with essential vitamins and minerals. In this article, we will look at ways to grow strawberries in an apartment, we will deal with the choice of varieties and basic agricultural techniques.
Strawberries are the most valuable food product. It is often used in official and traditional medicine in the treatment of many diseases. This berry is widely used in cosmetology, and is also used to develop various kinds of diets..
Strawberries are also irreplaceable in cooking. All kinds of preserves and jams, desserts and pastries, wines and liqueurs are prepared from it. It is especially useful to use strawberries in the cold season, when a person so needs protection from colds and various infectious diseases..
Strawberries are a versatile plant, if you create the necessary conditions, it can bear fruit all year round. It is this feature that is used when growing berries at home..
There are two ways to grow strawberries in a city apartment – in different containers on the windowsill and in plastic bags in specially equipped rooms. Let’s see what conditions need to be created for the plant to develop correctly and give a good harvest..
How to choose the right variety
All the variety of varieties available today is divided into two main types – bush strawberries and ampelous strawberries. By the type of fruiting, varieties can be repair, that is, those that bear fruit under favorable conditions all year round, and non-repair, giving only one harvest per season. Which variety is best for home growing.
Long-term cultivation practice shows that it is best to grow repair small-fruited bush or ampel strawberry varieties in a city apartment. After planting in flowerpots on the windowsill, such varieties begin to bear fruit in two months. For growing at home, experts recommend using the ampel variety Geneva, which is distinguished by high yields and early maturity. The mustache-free varieties – F-SSh1, Home delicacy and others – feel good in a city apartment. From traditional vegetable gardens, we can recommend the variety Queen Elizabeth 2.
Preparing potting mix for growing
Ready-made substrate can be bought in specialized stores. Any universal potting soil for flowers or vegetables will do. You can also prepare the soil for growing strawberries yourself. To do this, you need to take in equal parts land from the forest (preferably from coniferous), ready-made humus and sand.
In general, strawberries do not impose special requirements on the composition of the soil, the main thing is that the substrate is good for water and air. It should be noted that it is not advisable to use the land from the garden for these purposes, since it can be infected with a root nematode. In any case, if you prepare the soil mixture yourself, before using it you must carefully spill it with a solution of pink potassium permanganate – you can start planting plants in a week.
The finished substrate is poured into containers with good drainage, since strawberries do not tolerate stagnant water. Expanded clay, river pebbles or finely broken brick can be used as drainage.
Seedling preparation and planting in the ground
If you grow repair varieties of strawberries in your garden, then you can use it as a seedling. To do this, in the fall, dig up the required number of bushes, put in a box, cover with earth and place in a dark, cool place for two weeks – the strawberries need a rest period. Then plant the plants in pre-prepared flowerpots, while it is necessary to ensure that the rhizome (heart) is not deeply buried in the soil, but also does not protrude too much above its surface.
If the plant has too long roots, they need to be cut off so that they do not bend in the planting hole. And in order for the root system to recover faster after that, before planting, the seedlings can be placed in a warm (20 degrees) solution of heteroauxin for three to four hours. The solution is prepared at the rate of two tablets per 10 liters of water. After planting the plants, they are watered with the same solution – this stimulates the development of roots and ensures better survival.
For growing strawberries on the windowsill, seedlings can be purchased from special farms that breed them or grown from seeds yourself. It should be noted that you should not buy seedlings from unknown sellers on the market, as there is a risk of acquiring a variety that is not suitable for cultivation in an apartment..
Growing strawberry seedlings from seeds
To date, special varieties of indoor strawberries have been bred, the seedlings of which can be grown from seeds. The most suitable for these purposes is the Supreme variety. The berries of this variety have a mass of five to seven grams, and the ovaries appear already four months after germination.
Seeds are sown in small containers on compacted and well-moistened soil, then sprinkled with a thin layer of earth and pressed down, covered with polyethylene on top. After the emergence of seedlings, the film is removed and the seedlings are placed on the southern or southeastern windows.
Young plants are transplanted to a permanent place after the appearance of two true leaves. It is important to note that for normal development, one plant needs a volume of at least three liters..
Basic rules for caring for room strawberries
To obtain the maximum yield, plants should be provided with optimal conditions for growth and development..
Strawberry beds should be placed on the southern or southeastern windows, and in the winter, arrange additional lighting with fluorescent lamps. Strawberries are demanding on the lighting regime, they must be provided with at least 12 hours of daylight. The basic rules for supplementing the garden on the windowsill and how to calculate the required lamp power are described in detail in the article “Garden on the windowsill: we grow cucumbers, tomatoes and various varieties of peppers”.
For strawberries, the usual room temperature (18-22 degrees) will be quite suitable, if it is cooler in the room, you need to install electric heaters.
Plants are demanding on moisture and soil and air. The beds must be watered as they dry out, while avoiding waterlogging. If the air in the room is too dry, you can spray water from a spray bottle around the plants. However, you should not get carried away with this – too humid air can lead to the development of fungal diseases..
For better development, strawberry seedlings must be fed at least once every two weeks. For this, it is recommended to use universal houseplant fertilizer or special strawberry fertilizer. However, you should not overfeed the plants, as only greens will grow to the detriment of the fruits..
To increase the number of ovaries during the flowering period, the bushes need to be shaken, or use artificial pollination with a soft brush.
During the fruiting period, strawberries need an increased iron content in the soil. Some recommend sticking a rusty nail into a container with a plant for this, but it is better to use spraying the leaves with special solutions containing organic iron compounds, which can be bought in specialized flower shops.
At the time of fruit ripening, strawberry bushes can be affected by spider mites or gray rot. If you notice the first signs of damage, you need to spray the beds with garlic tincture prepared as follows: knead two cloves of garlic and pour half a glass of warm water, leave for 2-3 hours, strain and spray over strawberry leaves.
During the period of active growth, the strawberry throws out a mustache, which, in order to ensure the optimal light regime, must be tied to trellises or a nylon mesh attached to the window frame. These mustaches can be used to get seedlings, for this they need to be covered with earth, and after rooting, separated from the mother plant..
Some people, having mastered the simple techniques of cultivating strawberries on the windowsill, go further and begin to grow this berry not only for the needs of their own family, but also for sale, using the technology of growing strawberries in plastic bags.
Growing strawberries in plastic bags
To organize a strawberry plantation, it is best to allocate a separate room, which can be, for example, a pantry. The size of the room will determine how many bags of seedlings you can place in it. If the height allows, to save space, racks are made on which the beds are arranged in several tiers. In the room, it is necessary to maintain the optimal temperature and organize the necessary illumination in the same way as discussed above. If there are no windows in the room, you must take care of external exhaust ventilation..
It should be noted that the beds can be made both horizontal and vertical. The latter take up much less space.
How to properly prepare bags for planting seedlings
To make bags, you need dense transparent polyethylene (it is best to take reinforced polyethylene). The diameter of the bags should not exceed 16–20 cm, the length is at your discretion.
Prepared bags are filled with a substrate – either ready-made, or mixed independently from equal parts of earth, humus and sand. From above, the bag is tightly tied with a rope and installed or suspended vertically or laid in a horizontal position.
To plant seedlings in polyethylene, it is necessary to make cuts 6-8 cm in length in a checkerboard pattern at a distance of 20-22 cm from each other.
Organization of an irrigation system for watering a strawberry plantation
Watering the bushes planted in this way is extremely inconvenient, and the level of soil moisture through the bags is difficult to control. Therefore, for watering a strawberry plantation, it is best to make an irrigation system of a simple design. To do this, a two-liter plastic bottle is suspended above each bag with thin tubes (4–5 pieces) removed from it, best of all from a medical dropper. Poke the tubes through the polyethylene every half a meter of the bag. Pour water into the bottle, and make several small additional holes in the bottle so that the vacuum does not interfere with its exit. The irrigation system is ready, the main thing is not to forget to add water to the bottles as they empty. Practice shows that for a standard bag about a meter long a day, 2 liters of water will be required.
Caring for bagged strawberries is the same as for the beds on the windowsill. That is, it is necessary to provide optimal lighting, temperature and humidity. Strawberry bushes need to be fed every two weeks, and during the flowering period, artificial pollination should be carried out either by hand or using a fan, directing it to the plants and turning it on at the lowest speed.
Growing strawberries at home is a very exciting experience. Vases with berries on the windowsill will not only pamper your family with tasty and healthy fruits, but also decorate the interior of the apartment. Having mastered the main points of agricultural technology, you will be able to turn this hobby into an additional type of income, which over time can develop into a highly profitable business, because strawberries are always in great demand and are not cheap, even with their seasonal growth in the open field.