Growing Strawberries – Gardening Tips

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Growing Strawberries – Gardening Tips

Growing Strawberries - Gardening TipsGrowing Strawberries – Gardening Tips

Growing strawberries can be a great way to get fresh fruit into your family’s diet. Even children that just won’t eat fruit will grab the berries they have grown with their own hands and gobble them down, learning that fruits are tasty along the way.

Growing Strawberries

Start growing strawberries by purchasing plants at the local nursery or garden center. You might choose to order them online, but whatever method you use, obtain them in the very early spring. If you live in a very warm climate, you can plant them in fall, but most of the world must plants strawberries just after the last frost has passed.

Because strawberry plants can carry viruses which can kill the plant and spread throughout the garden, select plants which are certified to be free of disease.
If you plant your strawberries outdoors, you should select a site with good drainage, full sun and which will warm up well in early spring. Generally, a south-facing slope is perfect, but any location with soil which drains well and the sun shines directly on the plot can work. You can also grow strawberries in containers or raised beds; here we will focus on plants placed in the ground.

Strawberry Bed

Be sure your strawberry bed is well cultivated to at least one foot in depth. Remove weeds, debris, large sticks, and stones. Amend the soil with compost and cured manure to provide the rich nutrients required for lush, plump strawberries.

Place the plant’s strawberries

Dig a hole for your plant which is about seven (07) inches in width and depth. Place the plant into the hole, making sure the roots are buried but the crown is at the same level as in its previous container. Set plants in rows about 1-1/2 feet apart to allow plenty of growing space. Because strawberries multiply using runners, you’ll need space for these new baby plants to thrive.

Check on your plants Periodically

As you go about growing strawberries, you’ll need to check on your plants periodically and be sure no pests have made a feast of your fruits. Keep the space between the rows open by taking away the outer most runners and placing them elsewhere. Just snip the runner and dig up the roots, replanting the baby plant in another location. It may well fruit before the season ends.

As your original plants are harvested, remove them from the plot and allow their newly rooted runners to have the space occupied by the “mother” plant. Be sure to harvest all fruits before the first frost, but ideally, grab each berry just as it ripens.

How to grow Strawberries Indoors

grow strawberries indoors

To grow strawberries indoors is not as difficult as you may think.

Strawberries are well known for being very robust plants and certain varieties even prosper in harsh wilderness conditions.

However, they are just as well suited to being grown indoors.

This makes strawberries a great plant for beginners to the indoor gardening lifestyle (Or to growing in general).

Information to get started growing strawberries indoors in your home

  • Choosing & Planting the seeds

What you need to know about which seeds you should pick for the best crop.

With strawberries, it is very important to choose the right variety for indoor growing. You must choose a variety that is robust and can deal with the naturally changing temperatures of a regular household. It is also a good idea to ensure that the seeds/plants you choose are of the ever-bearing variety. This ensures a good yield of fruit 3-4 times a year from a single plant. They can also deal with varying lengths of light during the day as the year progresses.

Strawberries do not need deep soil as they grow lateral, so each plant will need to be about 6 inches apart.

Choose a plant that does not need to be hand pollinated where possible (hermaphroditic).

Note – The runnerless varieties are also helpful as they are more space efficient and will not try and grow into their neighboring plant’s pot!

  • Light & Temperature

How to provide the correct environment for your plants to ensure growth.

Strawberries require a moderate temperature that is usually maintained within an average household at most times in the year, whether by heating systems in the winter or by the heat of the sun in the summer. This is around 18-20 degrees Celsius (65-68 degrees Fahrenheit).

Most sunny windows will provide enough light for a strawberry plant. Low light levels, especially in the winter months can be supplemented with a strong artificial light.

  • Watering

Watering techniques specifically for strawberries.

If you have chosen a hardy, robust variety of strawberry then you will not need to worry about over-watering your strawberry plants. Keep the soil moist enough to form a ball as opposed to crumbling through the fingers. In the winter months, the plants will need less water as they start to rest as part of their natural cycle.
  • Feeding & Nutrition

How to make sure that your plants get all the nutrients that they need in order to survive and produce juicy fruits!

Feed your strawberry plants with a Plant food containing 15-20 percent Nitrogen. You should feed your plants twice a week but reduce feeding over the winter months.


  • Pollination

How to ensure that your plants are productive in their indoor environment.

You should ideally choose a seed/plant variety that does not need to be hand pollinated. However, should you need to hand pollinate for whatever reason; you can either shake the plant gently or use a cotton bud to very gently wipe the flower (use the same one for all the blossom flowers).

  • Harvesting

How to collect your fruit safely and how to maximize crop growth for the future.

Approximately 1 month after the blossom first appears and after pollination, etc; you should start to see fruit reaching maturity.

Berries should be kept on the plant until fully ripened. They should be picked by twisting the stem gently.

DO NOT REMOVE THE STEM BEFORE WASHING THE FRUIT!!!

Many more vitamins and minerals are lost unless you remove the stem AFTER washing the fruit.

So there you go! You can now grow strawberries indoors whenever you like!

Information on Insects and Diseases of Strawberries in Home Plantings

Growing Strawberries - Gardening Tips

Diseases and insects can limit the production of strawberries in home plantings. Effective disease and insect control depend on a combination of cultural, sanitation, and pesticide application practices. If you follow the proper cultural practices and plant the varieties recommended for your area of the state, you should obtain strong plant growth, and your plants will be less likely to be attacked by insects and diseases. You should have your soil tested and fertilized according to the soil test report. Plant in well-drained soils to reduce the possibility of several root diseases. Thin plant stands after the harvest season to improve air circulation. You should also rotate strawberries with other crops, such as corn or grasses, to help reduce disease and insect problems. Remove weeds and dead or poorly growing strawberry plants from the planting area because they can harbor diseases and insects. Purchase plants from reputable sources that sell certified disease-free plants. If you grow your own plants, do not use any that you suspect are diseased.

Virus Diseases

Virus diseases can greatly reduce the yield as well as the quality of strawberries. Virus diseases are often present but not recognized because the symptoms are hard to see. The best way to control virus diseases is to plant only certified virus-free plants. You should not set new plants near old plantings or wild berries. Aphids or mites, most common in the spring or fall, can transmit viruses from plant to plant.

Leaf Spots and Fruit Rot

Leaf Spots and Fruit Rot The most common fungal leaf-spot diseases are scorches, powdery mildew, leaf blight, and leaf blotch. Gray mold is the major fruit-rot disease of strawberries. In rainy weather, it can cause 50 percent or more reduction in yield. Defective plant parts are often covered with a fuzzy, gray mass of spores of the fungus.

Anthracnose

The anthracnose fungus causes dark brown, oval sunken areas or spots on stems. It also causes the crown to rot, which may cause young leaves to wilt. The fungus can be carried on apparently healthy plants. Therefore, you should be sure to use healthy certified plants for transplanting. If you avoid excess moisture during the summer, you will help decrease the severity of this disease. Anthracnose cannot be adequately controlled through the use of fungicides.

Nematodes

Nematodes The best way to control nematodes in most home situations is to rotate plantings from year to year if you have space. Solarization is the next suggestion, combining both will give you the best chance of controlling nematodes.

Root-Rot

Root-Rot Plants with black root-rot complex do not grow properly and soon die. The root system will be dark and rotten, and there will be a noticeable absence of small feeder roots. Several different fungi and nematodes cause this disease. If you find this problem in a home planting, find a new location. Do not use any plants from an infected field to start your next strawberry planting.

Insects

Insects and Related Pests Aphids and Mites Aphids are small sucking insects that may cause damage any time. Their feeding causes leaves to curl, and the sticky honeydew that aphids excrete supports sooty mold development. Aphids are capable of spreading virus diseases, and their populations may build up rapidly. Spider mites also suck sap from the plant and cause loss of plant vigor. Control aphids and mites through thorough coverage. A home orchard spray material that contains malathion may be used by following the label directions.

Soil Insects

Soil Insects Ants, white grubs, wireworms, root weevils, crown borers, and mole crickets are soil insects that are best controlled before setting the plants in the bed. These insects feed on the roots and the lower part of the plant. Control by making an application of diazinon at least 2 weeks before planting. Apply the insecticide evenly to the soil and disk it in 3 to 5 inches deep.

Catfacing Insects

Catfacing Insects Plant bugs feed on blooms and young fruit and prevent maturity by causing deformed growth and woody tissue. The adults and nymphs of plant bugs produce the damage by injecting toxic saliva into the plant when feeding. Control cat facing insects during fruit production by using a malathion mixture or by using a malathion and Sevin mixture. Mix and apply according to label directions.

Snails and Slugs

Snails and Slugs These pests feed on fruit on or near the soil. Control snails and slugs with metaldehyde bait. Apply the bait in the late afternoon. Do not allow the bait to contact fruit. Place it between rows and between plants.

Scouting for Insects

Scouting for Insects Control of the above-mentioned pests during the fruit production season requires close scouting to determine their presence. It may be necessary to spray on a 7- to 10-day schedule from the time of new growth until 14 days before harvest. However, it may be possible to reduce the number of insecticide applications by scouting. If the insects are not present, only the fungicide spray is needed.


Strawberry Planters

Strawberries tend to grow throughout your garden and crowd out your other fruit and vegetables. They produce delicious fruit, however strawberries left to ripen on the ground tend to rot from contact with the ground and moisture. You can purchase or make your own strawberry planters. This will save room and keep the fruit off the ground. If you want plump, red, sun-ripened strawberries, then a strawberry planter is a must.

Strawberries have shallow root systems. They need good drainage, and they love full-sun.

Basic Plastic Planters

You can grow strawberries in any kind of pot, raised bed, hanging basket, hanging bag, pyramid, etc. Strawberries have even been known to grow in old 4 inch PVC pipe with holes cut every foot, filled with soil, hung on an incline and watered in the top end and out the bottom.

Plastic planters are inexpensive and lightweight. They retain moisture and can be moved to follow the sun or to avoid nasty weather. They come in just about any size and shape. There are many colors and designs to choose from.

Ceramic Planters or Strawberry Jars

These jars are designed for growing strawberries. They have small protrusions all around them in which strawberries can be planted. These openings provide enough room for a single plant in each hole to grow a healthy root system. There is also space at the top of the jar for several more plants. They provide good drainage. They are heavy, especially when full of moist soil. They are usually made of ceramic clay often terra-cotta in color.

Hanging Pouches or Bags

Strawberry pouches or bags have slits in them for planting each individual strawberry plant. They can be hung up in a tree, on a porch or wherever you want them. They can also be placed on the ground. They really cut down on space. They are portable and perfect for small areas.

Another benefit is that they protect the strawberry plants from disease and pests. One caution about strawberry bags is to watch out for overheating. The strawberries delicate root system is sensitive to heat and the roots can cook if the temperature gets too hot.

Strawberry Towers

These are usually made of the same ceramic clay as strawberry pots but they can be made of just about any material. Wood, metal or plastic, these towers are stacked rings that provide plenty of growing space. The rings are stacked.

The cascading strawberries are kept off the ground and these tower planters make picking the fruit very easy. They are also attractive in your yard or garden.

Pyramid Planters

This type of planter is very similar to tower planters. The tiers are stacked in order of size. The bottom tier is the largest and the top tier is the smallest. This planter also makes picking strawberries easier than leaning over a shorter planter.

Strawberry barrels can be made of any material and any size. To make a strawberry barrel you simply drill a series of holes of several inches in diameter. Stagger them around the barrel.

Flower Pots, Box Planters and Hanging Baskets

Strawberries will grow in any regular flower pot, box planter or hanging basket planter. They only need several inches of soil so the planter doesn’t need to be too deep.

Regardless of which type of planter you choose, strawberries grow the best with a mixture of compost, loam, manure and sand.

To prevent water from running out of the holes in the planters, try drilling holes in a piece of PVC tubing that is the same height as the planter. Insert the tubing down into the center of the soil. You can fill it with sand and when watering pour the water into the tubing and your strawberries will be watered from the inside out.

Runners will shoot out of the parent plant. You should pinch them off to allow more of the plant’s energy to go into producing the fruit. These runners can be rooted in seed trays and planted after developing their own root system. Strawberry plants should be replaced every few years and the runners can be a source for new plants.

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