Worshiped by many, strawberries are one of the most desirable summer fruits and easiest to plant and grow in a personal garden, whether in a large land area or in a pot on the porch. Indulge yourself with this experience.
HERE ARE SOME STRAWBERRIES
The strawberry (Fragaria vesca) is a perennial herb, small and small, characterized by a leaf with three leaflets and small white flowers. There are two types of strawberries: the remontant (they grow continuously between June and October) and the non-remontant (they produce strawberries only once a year between April and June). The former should be planted in spring and the latter in late summer, preferably in August / September. Although they wither in the autumn, the roots of the strawberry survive the colder months of the year to return to bloom as soon as spring arrives.
THE IDEAL CONDITIONS
To harvest the best and tastiest strawberries, your plants need a lot of direct sunshine for at least 6 hours a day, which makes it a wise choice to grow. In addition, strawberries tolerate neither dry land nor soggy soil, that is, a balance is required: a soil that absorbs moisture well but also allows water to flow. Strawberries flourish well in soil with pH levels between 5.0 and 7.0, but the ideal levels are those between 5.3 and 6.5. It is equally important that strawberries are planted far from the roots of large trees so that they do not take over their water and moisture.
PREPARE THE LAND
Having chosen the place of cultivation, it is necessary to prepare the land, in order to verify that it does not contain any type of weeds, larvae or diseases of the soil. If you plan to plant the strawberries in an area that has already been grassed, this land must be cleaned and cultivated at least one year before planting. Strawberries should never be planted in the same land where tomatoes, peppers, aubergines or potatoes have been grown in the last three years because the diseases in these vegetables are very common. Strawberries can be planted in extensive cultivation or in enclosed flower beds, but they also flower in pots (including droppings) as well as open wooden pots or barrels.
CROP & MAINTENANCE
- It is recommended to plant the strawberries on a cool, cloudy day, atmospheric conditions that put less stress on the plants to be transplanted – if you have to store the plants some time before putting them on the ground, choose a cool place that does not receive light direct sunlight and keep the roots moist but not soggy.
- On the day of planting, remove any damaged roots and trim the larger ones so that they do not exceed 10-12cm in length; remove all flowers, stalks and old leaves, placing the strawberries in a container with a little water in the background while waiting their turn to be planted in the ground.
- The strawberries should be placed on the ground with the roots facing low, forming a sort of fan and with the middle of the crown of the plant at the level of the earth’s surface. If the strawberry is planted to shallow depth, the crown may dry; if planted too deeply, the crown may rot. Once positioned, distribute the soil compactly around the plant and water well.
- To plant 30 strawberries (the ideal amount for a family of four, for example), a space of at least 9m long by 2.5m wide is required. The rows should have a spacing of about one meter between them and the strawberries should be planted with a distance of about 50 to 60cm between them.
- Strawberries need to be well watered at least once a week or whenever precipitation is less than 2.5cm in a period of seven days. It is advisable to irrigate in the early morning so that the leaves can dry before nightfall, thus avoiding possible diseases.
TRICKS FOR MAGNIFICENT STRAWBERRIES
- The ideal production of strawberries and the consequent cultivation of exceptional strawberries happens when the soil temperature stays cooler. To achieve this, the mulch system is used which is nothing more than implementing a protective layer of soil to preserve soil moisture, control weeds and keep the fruit clean. In the case of strawberries, it is recommended to place straw among the strawberries – this is an excellent trick that gardeners use to keep fruits clean and dry and perhaps removed from their own name in English since strawberry means precisely Straw berry
- There are even those who provide extra protection when placing anti-bird nets on strawberries.
Keeping the soil free of weeds is crucial to ensuring excellent strawberries and this activity should be practiced preferably by hand due to the fragility of this fruit. If you prefer to use gardening utensils, take special care around the roots of the strawberries.
- A balanced fertilizer can contribute to good cultivations, so make the first application at planting and the second shortly after picking up all the strawberries that year. In subsequent seasons, the first fertilization should occur at the beginning of each spring.
- If you are not satisfied with the quality or taste of the strawberries during a certain time, if the strawberry area is full of weeds or shows signs of disease, opt for its renewal. This type of renewal can be done three or four times with positive results. With a pair of scissors or a hand wash trimmer, cut the top of each strawberry without damaging its crown and let the fallen leaves dry before removing them. Narrow each row to a width of 20-25cm, leaving half untouched plants (should keep some young strawberries). The other half should be trimmed so as to shorten the distance between each one to about 15cm. If you have too many plants, you run the risk of growing much smaller strawberries and creating an environment conducive to disease.
CATCH TO TASTE
Picking strawberries should be a delicate operation because strawberries are very fragile fruits: start by picking up the strawberry with your thumb and forefinger and pull in a slightly twisted motion; let the strawberry roll gently into the palm of your hand and repeat the process until you have picked up 3 or 4 strawberries. Place the strawberries carefully in a container of your own, without overfilling it to avoid stepping and damaging the strawberries in the bottom. Keep the leaves well away (taking care to see where you place your feet) so as not to let any strawberries fall behind, but harvest only those that are completely red. Strawberries that show signs of sunburn, insect damage, which appear to be rotten or have any other defects should be removed and discarded.