Strawberry is a perennial plant. Its delicious fruits, rich in minerals, vitamins and low in calories are very popular with young and old. There are about 500 varieties, some are pumping, others are not. The first give strawberries only once a year that are harvested in summer, the others bear fruit again between August and October. Let’s take a look at how to grow this somewhat demanding plant, whether in the ground or in a pot, to enjoy a bountiful harvest.
Plant a strawberry plant
The strawberry plant likes to be installed in a acidic to neutral soil whose pH is between 6.5 and 7.5 but also rich in humus. It is recommended to plant the strawberry in a silico-clay soil. Limestone soils are absolutely avoided because they become full of water. Regarding her situation, she must be moderately shaded for berry strawberries and very sunny for varieties with large strawberries.
Is the spring that we plant our strawberries of the four seasons. All other varieties must be planted between the end of August and the end of September so that the young plants have time to take root before the winter cold.
To have the best chance of successfully growing strawberries, you start by preparing the soil a good four weeks before planting. The task consists of plowing, removing all the weeds and then burying in the ground a basic fertilizer and one well decomposed manure. But be careful, it is better to choose an area of the garden where you have not planted strawberries for 4 or 5 years.
Here’s what you need to know to successfully planting a strawberry plant. We recommend growing them in two rows 40 to 50 cm apart in order to facilitate the strawberry harvest but also the maintenance of the plants. The soil must be well aerated, weeded, loosened, amended in compost and leveled.
Must also butter over a height of 20 cm and a width of 65 cm, leaving a space of about 60 cm between two butted rows. This precaution is essential if the ground is waterproof because the ridging limits the risk of excess water at the roots.
To plant a strawberry plant, the method is the following :
- Make holes with the transplanter a little larger than the clods, spacing them about 35 cm apart,
- Moisten the ground,
- Place each strawberry plant in a hole with a bulb planter, taking care that the roots are not raised (hence the interest of digging large enough holes) and make sure that the collar is just flush with the level of the ground,
- Fill in the holes,
- Firm enough soil and dig a watering basin around the plants.
It only remains to water generously.
Sowing, layering and stump division are the different methods of propagating strawberries.
We note that the strawberry seedling is only possible for the Quatre Saisons varieties, in June, in terrines that are installed in the shade. It is important to keep the substrate moist but not excessively so that it will emerge in two weeks. The period of transplanting under frame Then comes as soon as the seedlings have formed 3 leaves, and the young plants are kept under cover until spring since it is between March and April that they will finally have to be installed in their final location.
All the other strawberries cannot be sown, they can be multiplied by layering or by division of the stumps.
By layering the runners
Stolons are called stolons at the end of which a new plant with roots develops. This method is therefore very simple since it suffices to transplant the shoots between spring and the end of August to take advantage of an abundant harvest when the time comes. In addition, this method avoids the exhaustion of the mother plant by too many runners.
Initially, we do not cut the stolon but we plant each seedling in a small, preferably biodegradable pot containing 1/3 of sand, 1/3 of compost and 1/3 of potting soil then that we place very close to the mother plant. . We do not cut the stolon for separate the daughter’s foot from the mother’s foot only when new leaves have formed. Then all that remains is to transplant the young plant in a previously well amended soil, either in the ground or in a planter, without taking it out of its pot if it is biodegradable.
By division of strains
This is the method used for all varieties of strawberries that do not produce runners. Each new plant obtained by separating a stump into two or three is to be replanted using the classic planting method.
Maintain your strawberry plants
Demanding, the strawberry plant needs to be taken care of.
Very greedy in water, the strawberry plant is watered regularly because its soil must always remain moist. It is essential for it to develop and produce strawberries. Watering (with collected rainwater if possible) every 6 days from planting is necessary, sometimes more frequently if it is not raining because the soil should never be dry between two waterings. During a heat wave, do not hesitate to water your strawberries every day. The best period is early in the morning because it attracts less gastropods than in the evening. Be careful not to wet the leaves!
Mulching (straw, pine bark, etc.) is a good solution to limit the development of unwanted grasses and protect strawberries against disease. It must be installed before flowering. This also keeps them clean and prevents the strawberries from coming into contact with the ground, which can damage them.
The same results are obtained if you plant your strawberries on a opaque non-woven plastic film which attaches at regular intervals with metal hooks.
A nitrogen-rich fertilizer allows to boost the restart of vegetation in the spring, for strawberries that have spent the winter in the ground. The fertilizer is diluted in the irrigation water for better distribution if the strawberries are planted on plastic wrap. For those which are cultivated on the ground, it is necessary to spread the fertilizer manually on slightly moistened ground and between the tufts then to scratch the surface slightly so as not to injure the strawberries.
A contribution from special strawberry fertilizer is essential for repeat varieties, just after the first strawberry harvest. This will allow you to enjoy a nice second production a little later.
In November, it is necessary prune all the runners at 5 cm. The strawberries are then left alone until the end of winter. When spring begins, it’s time to remove withered leaves and dry stems, but also to hoe the soil to loosen it up and remove weeds more easily.
Parasites and diseases
The strawberry plant is quite vulnerable. It is therefore essential to renew at least part of your strawberry plants every 3 years, or even every 4 years at most.
- Aphids : they transmit viral diseases to strawberries.
- Gastropods (snails, slugs) : they are rampant in spring and autumn, devouring the tender leaves but also the fruits in which they dig holes. These enemies must be removed manually and pine needles placed at the base of the plants to hinder the movement of gastropods. Of anti-slug pellets for organic farming are also very useful.
- The speckled blaniula : it is also called strawberry lule. It is an arthropod, with the appearance of a centipede, which feeds on the fruits. Too much humidity favoring its occurrence, mulch is a good preventive solution.
- Gray rot or botrytis : this disease can be detected in browning followed by gray down on rotting strawberries. We avoid wetting the leaves during watering to prevent botrytis and as a preventive measure, we add special organic strawberry fertilizer.
- Mildew : this disease is favored by heavy soils. This is why the soil must be lightened when planting strawberries. Downy mildew causes the rotting roots and the wilt plants, which necessitates pulling them out as the disease spreads quickly to other plantings.
When strawberries begin to bloom, many gardeners apply a fungicide and insecticide treatment so as not to risk seeing their strawberries fall ill, which would put the entire production at risk.
Harvest strawberries from your garden
The rising strawberries are those that produce the earliest strawberries, which can therefore be harvested as early as May, knowing that a second harvest is expected from mid-August. As for strawberries from non-flowering varieties, they are to be picked in June and July.
It is very important to eat strawberries as quickly as possible after picking because these fruits spoil quickly. The stems are only removed when consuming these fragile fruits. While waiting to taste them, we can store the unwashed and unhulled strawberries in a room where the temperature is high enough. fresh but they will not keep for more than 24 to 36 hours under these conditions. Protection against insects is essential, such as a clean cloth or a very fine net. Otherwise, even if strawberries don’t like the cold, you put your harvest in a perforated plastic container that you place in the vegetable basket of the refrigerator. But it will be necessary to consume its strawberries within 48 or 72 hours. Finally, whatever the method of conservation, we check the harvested strawberries morning and evening in order to eliminate without delay those which show mold.