- Choosing and preparing a site for planting
- Choosing seedlings
- Getting started landing
- Care for strawberries after planting
Do you know why every year thousands of visitors to the most prestigious tennis tournament Wimbledon spend a lot of money on tickets? Do you think to see tense matches with your own eyes and cheer for your “friends”? But no! The main highlight of Wimbledon, an indispensable attribute of this holiday of tennis, has long been strawberries and cream, a signature dish that must be served to all spectators..
This sweet berry is rightfully considered the most delicious, aromatic and popular. Strawberries with cream is an excellent dish for a romantic dinner with champagne, it is famous as an unsurpassed aphrodisiac, and in terms of the richness of vitamins and useful elements it is comparable only to the recognized leaders – apples and citrus.
100 grams of strawberries or, as it is also called, garden strawberries contains only 36.9 calories, so you can enjoy such a dessert even on the strictest diet. In addition, this berry contains a large amount of vitamin C, due to which it improves immunity. There is also zinc in strawberries, which increases the level of testosterone in the blood (I hope there is no need to explain what processes in the human body this important hormone is responsible for).
Experts say that strawberry lowers blood sugar, therefore it is very useful for diabetics, fights microbes and viruses, and a mask made from this fragrant berry will make the skin soft and smooth.
After such a “laudatory ode”, all that remains is to talk about how to grow a juicy, red berry in your garden. This process should be approached responsibly, since strawberries are very capricious and demanding. However, in this case, all efforts will pay off with interest, because the pleasure from such a delicacy, grown by yourself, is simply incomparable.
Red and green are the traditional colors of the Wimbledon tennis tournament. And if you add white, you get strawberries with cream and mint leaves, the signature dish of this prestigious competition.
Choosing and preparing a site for planting
Before you start planting strawberries, you should carefully study your plot of land and choose the best place for this capricious berry. The best plot for planting garden strawberries is called the beds located on the southern and southwestern slopes with a slope of about 1-3 degrees. Simply put, the site should be practically flat, with a very slight slope, and perfectly lit – strawberries, although they are considered a shade-tolerant berry, the sun loves and ripens faster and best of all under its hot rays.
Ideally, the strawberry beds are protected from cold northerly winds, and the groundwater level should not be less than 60-80 centimeters.
Soil type is also very important – for garden strawberries, areas with neutral soil, with an optimal pH of 5.5, are suitable. This indicator should be at least 5 and not exceed 6.5 pH. Of course, it will not work to determine the acidity level of the soil in your area without a special device. The litmus indicator will only show the shades of the colors, not the exact numbers. If possible, it is worth renting or purchasing a pH tester, which is a digital display with a long probe. You need to lower the probe into the soaked soil taken from different parts of the garden.
The best yields are obtained on podzolized chernozem soils, as well as on dark gray forest soils, light and gray in composition..
Choosing a site for planting strawberries plays an important role in obtaining a good harvest.
It is almost impossible to grow an excellent harvest of red berries without preliminary preparation of the site and application of fertilizers. Therefore, before planting strawberries, be sure to add humus – at least five kilograms per square meter. In addition, even before planting seedlings, you need to apply nitrogen fertilizers – about 40-50 grams per “square”, and then the same amount of mineral fertilizers during the growing season of strawberries.
Before planting, experts also advise adding 50 grams of superphosphates, 100 grams of magnesium fertilizers and 50 grams of potash fertilizers per square meter. To reduce the cost of purchasing fertilizers, they can be applied with ribbons – specifically on the beds, or locally, into the hole during planting. In the process of growth, strawberries can also be fed with organic fertilizers, for example, bird droppings..
The best predecessor for strawberries is potatoes, and the berries will have to be transplanted every four to five years, since it will not be possible to get a good harvest on one bed longer – the soil is depleted and the plant needs to change its “place of residence”. You can plant garden strawberries in the same place again only after three years.
Strawberries are usually planted in even rows to facilitate later the process of picking juicy berries
Experienced strawberry growers advise to divide the area for planting garden strawberries into three roughly even plots and plant several varieties of berries at once: early, medium and late. This approach will allow you to get a harvest throughout the warm season – when some berries have already left, others will begin to ripen..
Of course, you can purchase seeds of garden strawberries of your favorite variety, so that you can then grow seedlings at home. But it is best to purchase ready-to-plant “mustaches”, that is, strawberry shoots, for example, at a specialized fair or local market.
Most often, strawberries are propagated by ready-made seedlings that have grown from its “mustache”
Experts call the medium-ripening variety the sweetest – Marmolada (Marmalade). This garden strawberry of Italian selection is distinguished by its large size and surprisingly sweet, sugary pulp. She is rightfully called the “strawberry queen”, which grows beautifully throughout the territory of central Russia.
Among the late varieties, experts single out “Pandora”, whose dark berries are distinguished by firm pulp and perfectly tolerate transportation. And the most popular early strawberry variety in the United States is Honey, which has taken root in our country as well, earning the respect of gardeners for its high yields, ability to tolerate frost perfectly, as well as the aroma and taste of its berries. By the way, it is “Honey” that is called the ideal strawberry variety for jam.
Other popular varieties of garden strawberries are called “Evangelina” with a very early ripening period, “Camarosa”, from one bush of which you can harvest a surprisingly large harvest of brilliant-red dense berries, “Cavendish” – a Scottish variety that is highly resistant to late blight, ” Redgontlite “, which is extremely widespread in Crimea and throughout Ukraine, and” Festival “with dark red conical berries.
Which variety to choose is up to you, as mentioned above, it is better to choose several types of strawberries at once in order to ensure the harvest throughout the summer and compare the features of one or another type.
Each strawberry variety differs not only in the ripening period, but also in the color of all shades of red, taste, yield and shape of the berries
Getting started landing
So, the plot of land for the strawberry beds has already been selected, and the seedlings have been brought from the market – it’s time to take garden tools and go to the garden. Strawberries are planted in early spring or early autumn. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages..
So, if you plant strawberries in spring, then you will definitely not get a harvest in the first year, moreover, it is better to cut off all the flowers that have appeared so that the plant does not deplete and successfully overwinter. However, in this case, the strawberries will definitely have time to perfectly get used to the garden before the onset of cold weather and will give a good harvest the next year.
When planting strawberries in early autumn, it is very important not to be late with the dates, since early frosts can destroy a plant that has not yet rooted. You can start planting strawberries at the end of August and finish no later than the second decade of September. However, these terms also depend on the region, in the southern regions you can plant strawberries at the end of September, since frosts before the last month of autumn are rare here..
Before planting, seedlings can be prepared by keeping them in a cool place for three to four days. The strawberries are planted in moist but not wet soil. The distance between the rows of strawberries should be at least 50, and preferably 80 centimeters, and between the bushes – from 15 to 25 centimeters. It is also necessary to plan the beds taking into account the variety – there are strawberry bushes that are more or less spreading and large, which also needs to be taken into account when planting.
A bed for garden strawberries must first be dug deep (with a full bayonet of a shovel), remove all weeds and roots, fluff and level the soil with a rake, getting rid of large lumps of earth. Further, for each seedling, a separate hole is dug about 15 centimeters deep. The main condition when planting strawberries is that the root collar of the seedling should be located at the surface of the earth, if you plant the plant too deep, the “heart” will simply rot, but too high planting and exposing the roots are also harmful.
The roots of the seedling should be placed vertically, it is better to moisten the hole first and, if you did not apply organic fertilizers while digging the garden, pour mineral additives into the hole.
After planting, each seedling must be carefully watered – about a liter of water for each plant, this will be quite enough. To prevent the soil from drying out too quickly, it is worth mulching the beds with strawberries with dry soil or humus.
Even rows of garden strawberries are an excellent result of the work of a gardener and a guarantee of a future good harvest. To make the rows perfectly straight, the landing can be carried out on a rope stretched over pegs
Care for strawberries after planting
Planting garden strawberry seedlings is the most laborious part of the work, however, this berry requires attention during the period of growth, flowering and ripening. Strawberries need to be watered regularly so that the berries grow large and juicy enough. During flowering, you need to water carefully, under the root, so as not to knock the ovary off with a stream of water. It is better to use warm, settled water, the drip irrigation system in this case will be an ideal option. During the period of pouring the berries, the time and intensity of watering should be increased, and when the berries are already starting to turn red, it should be reduced so that the strawberries are sweet and not too watery..
In addition, weeds quickly appear between the strawberry bushes, so you will also have to weed regularly. After watering, the soil can be fluffed to provide air access to the roots.
If you want to increase yields, then the growing mustache should be trimmed. Experts believe that only the first two “tendrils” released by the mother plant are suitable for the propagation of strawberries, and not in the first, but in the second year of vegetation, the rest are suitable only for sending to the compost heap. So consider this fact if you want to plant strawberries by growing your own seedlings. Usually ready-to-transplant mustaches appear in the beds with garden strawberries in mid-July..
By the way, many gardeners, especially those who grow strawberries for sale, plant seedlings in beds previously covered with black plastic wrap. The locations of the holes are marked on it, the film is cut crosswise, the edges are bent inward and a plant is planted in the resulting hole. This method allows you to solve three problems at once: weeds will not cut through the film, which will save you from tedious weeding, strawberry antennae will also not take root – the harvest will be larger, and the berries themselves will not be able to sink to the ground, will always be clean and will not suffer from pests.
Remember this unpleasant moment when you pluck a beautiful red berry, absolutely whole from above, and it turns out that the lower barrel on the ground has simply rotted or was bitten by someone mean and harmful before you? Planting strawberries on film will solve this problem.
Strawberries, like all other plants, can suffer from diseases and parasites. The most common problems are earth mites, gray mold, powdery mildew and slugs, which will willingly eat your crop if the berries are almost to the ground..
You can fight slugs by mulching the soil between the rows with straw – this will prevent the pests from moving freely. The fungus, which has received the “talking” name gray rot, affects the berries, so even before flowering, strawberries should be treated with copper sulfate (for 10 liters of solution – one tablespoon of vitriol). To prevent powdery mildew, the beds should be sprayed with a solution of colloidal sulfur (for 10 liters of water – two tablespoons). Spraying with karbofos will help against the strawberry mite, which destroys the leaves of the plant.
Interestingly, garlic planted between strawberry beds is a great help to fight pests and diseases, so you should not neglect such a useful neighborhood.
And finally, harvesting begins at the end of June. It will not work to entrust this delicate process to gardening equipment, so you will have to personally “bow” to each bush, picking ripe red berries. You will have to do this almost every day so as not to miss a single berry – in hot summer they ripen quickly, and there are a lot of people who want to enjoy the strawberry harvest. Both birds and insects can try to bite the berries. You can protect yourself from feathered robbers by pulling a net over the garden bed, and only a film on the ground or timely harvesting will help from insects.
Often the entire strawberry harvest is eaten fresh by households and simply “does not survive” until winter. But you can preserve the aroma and taste of berries by boiling jam, or freezing clean, whole berries.
Every gourmet’s dream is a large bowl with ripe, fragrant strawberries
Despite the fact that the process of planting, caring for and collecting strawberries requires considerable effort, this berry is found in almost every summer cottage and usually gives an excellent harvest. Yes, you will have to tinker with a rather capricious garden strawberry, but remember – you do not need to plant it every year, the whole process will be repeated no earlier than in three to four years, and all the work will definitely pay off with the pleasure of such a tasty and healthy treat.