Today at Gardenprue, we are going to dedicate an entry to the cultivation of strawberries . As we did in the entry we dedicated to zucchini, we are going to ignore the historical part, yields and plant anatomy of the strawberry. We are going to dedicate ourselves exclusively to productive development and the keys to cultivation so that you achieve more than satisfactory results. Go ahead!
STRAWBERRY CULTIVATION IN THE ORGANIC GARDEN
Strawberry is one of many fruits that people love. Its sweet taste, its texture, its size, etc. You can do everything with them, from salads (it is becoming fashionable, yes), cakes, ice cream, smoothies, integrated with chocolate and a long etc. Therefore, what better way to dedicate a space in our garden, or even a flower pot, to grow a few strawberry plants.
Strawberry belongs to the Rosaceae family . This is one of the most famous family because it belongs to a large number of fruit trees known as the apple tree, the pear tree, the peach tree, the plum tree, the cherry tree, etc.
It is a stoloniferous plant , that is, it forms stolons. They are lateral shoots that come out of the stem and that grow horizontally. They have the ability to generate adventitious roots, making it a very practical method for multiplying plants.
The strawberry does not encounter adaptation problems with respect to temperature. It is a plant that is quite conditioned by temperature, when it comes to thickening its fruits and improving its organoleptic characteristics. The optimum values of temperature are between 15 to 20 ° C.
Excessively high temperatures cause vegetative growth against flowering.
LIGHT AND HUMIDITY
The intensity or influence of light is important in the development of the plant, in terms of the proportion of sugars in the crop. It usually needs around 12 hours of light to get a good production.
As for humidity, the Mediterranean climate is ideal as it provides a dry environment with low relative humidity. Precipitation or increases in humidity followed by very hot nights can deteriorate the quality of this fruit.
REQUIREMENT IN SOILS
In strawberry cultivation, the demands on soils are low. It adapts to a wide variety of terrain. The needs are similar to those of many other vegetables. It requires well-drained soils , deep (up to 40 cm) and high in organic matter.
The optimal pH is usually between 5.5 and 7, slightly acidic. Here you can also check the pH that other crops need.
In short, the greatest attention in strawberry cultivation is taken by the soil, and here lies the success of the plantation. We will always look for a loose and soft soil.
There are several ways of fertilizing strawberries, either using organic matter of natural origin or by using fertilizers of chemical origin. Regarding organic matter, it is important to know that it needs quite fertile soils (between 2 and 3%) so you will have to be generous with the contribution, especially as a background fertilizer.
Regarding fertilization through mineral elements, NPK fertilizers can be used in the following quantity:
- Nitrogen requirements [N]: 20 g / m 2
- Phosphorus requirements in [P 2 O 5 ]: 10 g / m 2
- Potassium requirements [K 2 O]: 30 g / m 2
However, these total subscriber needs can be divided between the background applications, prior to planting (when we prepare the soil), or once the strawberry cultivation has already started. Nitrogen is recommended to provide the largest amount (around 80%) once the cultivation has started. On the other hand, phosphorus and potassium can provide half the background and half the cover.
You can also use complex fertilizers like the ones we saw in this article, with several examples of products used.
Being a small plant, the space needs are small. A suitable planting frame for growing strawberries is [0.5 x 0.4] m, or [0.4 x 0.4] m. Everything will depend on the state of the soil. If it is very soft and with enough organic matter, the distances can be reduced, as in the deep bed . You have to experiment and check the returns.
In the cultivation of strawberries, high moisture content is required . With the application of fertilizers, practically daily waterings are required, maintaining a suitable humidity in the soil (avoid flooding). It is important to control the quality of irrigation, since the strawberry is not very tolerant to salinity and sensitive to high concentrations of chlorine (burns on the edge of adult leaves).
Be careful with excesses, as it will harm production and can rot the plant. We will have to control the drainage of the orchard and the amount of water we provide. In fact, although there are no problems in the plant, the fruits become softer and watery, making harvesting very difficult (they suffer greater physical damage).
PLAGUES AND DISEASES
Among the main pests that we can find when we grow strawberries:
- Red spider ( Tetranychus urticae )
- Trips (Frankliella occidentalis)
- Aphids ( Aphys gossypii and Myzus persicae )
- Caterpillars ( Spodoptera exigua )
Among the main diseases that we can find in strawberry cultivation:
- Alternaria (Alternaria sp.)
- Mancha angular foliar (Xanthomonas fragariae). [Bacteria]
- gray rot ( Botrytis cinerea )
- Oidio (Oidium fragariae)
- Colletotrichum acutatum
- Gnomonia spp.
- Phytophthora spp.
- Rhizopus spp.
Gardenprue’s advice: prevent the strawberry from coming into contact with the ground. It will be wet, it will rot the fruit and it will not be edible. Avoid this by raising the stem with a rope tied to a reed system or netting .
AND ODDLY ENOUGH, IT HAS MEDICINAL PROPERTIES
Although surely people who are encouraged to grow strawberries will be able to taste them, it also has some medicinal properties, and not only the fruit.
+ The root and leaves, when infused, have diuretic and antirheumatic properties.
+ As it has a good amount of ascorbic acid, strawberry consumption is indicated to lower cholesterol .
+ The cooking of the leaves taken as an infusion is a good remedy against diarrhea, due to its astringent capacity.