Read this step-by-step guide to cultivating strawberries at home and harvest a highly profitable yield!
Strawberries are a delicious berry that is rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients but can put a dent in the pockets. Those who grow their own strawberries at home claim they taste better when homegrown.
So if you are interested in planting your own strawberries but don’t know exactly what to do, this step-by-step guide is for you...
Choose a Container
You don't need to buy sophisticated containers or dirt pots right away. Strawberries can also be grown in 2-liter plastic bottles, wooden crates, and repurposed buckets. Regardless matter whether you use clay, plastic, wood, or another material, make sure the container has a soil depth of at least 12-14 inches to allow the plants' root systems to flourish.
Because you should position plants around 10-12 inches apart to allow them to spread horizontally, the number of plants you can fit in will be determined by the width of the container.
Growing strawberries in tubs or buckets of any kind have a number of distinct advantages. Plants can be moved to follow the sun.
Get ‘Runners’ of the Right Variety
Strawberry plants are propagated by purchasing 'runners' (stems containing buds that sprout into new plants) from nurseries.
Strawberry plants come in two sorts: 'June-bearing' variants that give fruit in the spring or early summer and 'Ever-bearing' versions that can be gathered from early summer to early fall. While June-bearing types can take up to a year to establish, ever-bearing plants can produce fruit the first year and let you harvest for weeks or months.
There are numerous types of strawberries within each grouping, and your local nursery should be able to recommend several that are suitable for your climate.
Prepare a Strawberry Friendly Soil
Strawberries prefer loamy, well-draining soil. Start with what you've got and add a lot of organic matter (compost, shredded bark, or peat moss) as well as sand or grit. The majority of potting soil combinations supplied in nurseries will suffice. Make sure the soil is free of weed roots and that the container's bottom has drainage holes.
If you're growing in a hanging basket, line it with sphagnum moss before filling it with soil to keep the plants damp. Sphagnum moss also allows the plant to grow out the sides of the container, which is aesthetically pleasing.
Plants should be placed in the soil with their crowns (where the leaves emerge) slightly above the surface and 10-12 inches apart – this is closer than they would be in the ground and will make it easier to water them.
Firm the plants in place and moisten the soil around the roots to settle the soil. Mulch after planting (with dry leaves) to prevent water loss from evaporation and to feed beneficial soil bacteria. With its sparse top growth and typically underdeveloped roots, runners can appear harsh. This is very normal, so don't be concerned!
While potted strawberries can be planted at any time of year, the optimum time to do it is in the spring.
Feed with all-natural homemade fertilizers (a weekly handful of leftover filter coffee grinds can work wonders) and water regularly to stimulate blossoming. However, don't overwater the shallow roots; they require water in hot weather, but they don't want to be soaked. You'll notice small green strawberries soon, indicating that the fruit has ‘set'.
Strawberries bloom and bear fruit during the fall and winter months, from October to February. It is critical that you look after your plants during the summer.
Strawberry plants will continue to produce for at least another 2-3 years before needing to be replaced. Trim off old leaves from June-bearing plants for next year, being careful not to injure the plant's central stalk (crown). Ever-bearers don't need this trimming.
Strawberries should be picked when they are bright red all over, ideally during the hottest part of the day, as this is when they are at their sweetest. Consume them as soon as possible or turn them into delectable preserves.
Cut back the foliage after fruiting, leaving only the center, new leaves intact. Runners should be eliminated (unless you intend to generate new plants) to ensure that plants bulk up again; the more runners a single mother plant has, the more resources and nutrients it will lose.
Always pluck in a gentle manner so that the stem isn't broken. Now you can share your homegrown strawberries with friends and family or just save it for yourself!
This article has been collected from Krishi Jagran Agripedia and shared for the interest of the readers. All right reserved with Krishi Jagran Agripedia for this article.