Introduction to Strawberries Growing Strawberries for Pleasure and Profit
Nobody knows when the attractive Woodland plant known to the world as strawberries decided to leave the edges of the wood lands and invade the gardens of human beings. But one is grateful that this is one plant which was allowed to grow and flourish in the gardens, instead of being considered to be just another weed, which had this habit of taking over large coppices, which were rich in natural humus.
This very popular fruit, cultivated globally is now known as the garden or just a strawberry. It belongs to the Fragaria genus of plants, which is made up of other fruits which are not berries, but are a number of aggregate fruits.
Thanks to its very attractive red and bright color, strawberry aroma, sweetness and juicy flavor, is it a surprise that there is no fruit like the strawberry for adding style and distinction to your garden patch.
Just imagine ice creams, fruit juice, milkshakes, chocolates and pies, which have not been flavored with the delicate flavor of a strawberry. In fact artificially produced strawberry flavors are used extensively in lip glosses, lip balms and other beauty products.
Strawberries, especially the Woodland strawberries are supposed to have originated in Europe, because references to these sweet delicious berries have been found in ancient Roman classical cuisine. They were also used by the Romans to cure a number of ailments related to the skin. Crushed strawberries were placed under ashes and skin problems in order to clear and cure the skin ailment and to make it smooth and glowing again. The plant was also used to treat depression.
Strawberry growers of the early Victorian days used to take a great delight in digging up large coppices in the wood lands. These lands were rich in natural fertilizer, especially organic fertilizer, humus, and a well fertilized soil too. These lands were then allowed to be overrun with strawberries.
When people got to know in the medieval ages that all you had to do was go into the woods, cut some strawberry runners and plant them in your plot of land, and they would grow and bear fruit, this fruit began to be more and more popular both with gardeners and with farmers.
Strawberry Rootstock is used for planting and they are not grafted or budded. The strawberry is of course a surface rooter and therefore a sensible gardener is going to leave it alone, once the plants are in position. They just need plenty of space in which to spread.
That means you are not going to be doing any forking or hoeing of any land on which strawberries are grown. This is normally a good activity done by gardeners in order to turn the soil and keep it well aerated. But this does not suit strawberries.
Clean up the land well before you plant your strawberries. The ideal time for planting strawberries is in the summer. After that you are going to keep the weeds down by mulching, coupled with a little bit of hand weeding, when and if necessary.
Feeding Your Plants
Rich Soil Gives You Rich Returns
Strawberries love organic matter. That is why you can find them growing so profusely in shady areas where there is plenty of natural leaf compost and humus. That is why your soil has to have a very high organic content before you start planting strawberries in them.
Well-rotted farmyard manure or really good organic compost should be dug in the soil at the rate of one large wheelbarrow load for every 10 yd.². Wild Strawberries normally give their best harvest for the first 2 years of existence, and then the old and dying runners get absorbed in the soil to provide mulch and nutrition for the new runners.
This is the rule which you need to follow when planting strawberries in your garden. Dig the more than 2-year-old plants back into the soil, giving the new runners a chance to grow and flourish.
Traditionally strawberries were fed plenty of organic food before harvesting, so that the fruit would be larger and juicier. Nowadays, this organic material in the shape of compost is also being fed to the plants after harvest, so that the rest of the plant can grow well and healthy.
Protecting Your Strawberries
Strawberries are tough little plants and never say die. However, they need plenty of water during the harvest season, so make sure that the strawberry beds are well moisturized before you are ready to pick up the harvest, especially if it is being grown in strawberry containers.
The harvest is going to mature in Midsummer and a uniform, red and bright color of the fruit shows that they are now ready for harvesting. Harvest them every 2 days by hand.
These berries are harvested with the green caps and about half an inch of the stem portion still attached. Make sure that they are ripe before you pick them. Strawberries ripened on the plants are of superb quality, because they have been allowed to ripe in the sun and in the air. They are not going to ripe anymore, after you have picked them. These sundrenched strawberries are now ready to be packed, and to be imported or to be eaten with cream like did Curly Locks.
Popular Strawberry Varieties
Alpine strawberries are of course the fruit that you normally see in crystal bowls in upscale hotels. The strawberries are planted in rows 18 inches apart, leaving a foot between the plants. The fruits are small and the propagation can be done by splitting up the clumps after fruiting has finished in the late autumn. One normal family can enjoy the fruit of 50 plants.
This is a strawberry which is going to grow on a partially shaded border and reached with the plenty of fine and old compost and sedge peat. You can raise these plants from seed or to buy them from nursery men before the beginning of winter or in September.
Remove the first few flowers that appear and the plants will then crop heavily from August to October, when the ordinary strawberry varieties are over.
Baron Solemacher is the best variety of Alpine strawberries. It is easy to grow and a heavy cropper when you raise it from seed. The bulk of the plants are going to produce red fruit, but some plants may produce white berries. This is a heavy producing plant, excellent for jam.
Red Alpine – this has a better flavor when compared to Baron Solemacher.
Now that you know all about strawberries and how easily they can be grown, ask for the best available varieties available locally in your area.
Strawberries, which may have started out as kitchen garden hobbies can be an excellent source of profit, especially when you have good sturdy strains. So you may be the next supplier to your city’s top hotels and organic market stalls for top-quality strawberries.
Remember, as long as you have access to plenty of good soil, plenty of healthy runners, plenty of sun, air and water, and compost, you need never feel a dearth of easily accessible strawberries from your garden.
And remember that half of the fun of drinking cold rings or eating flavored foods would have something very important missing if nobody had discovered strawberries millenniums ago. Also, strawberry flavored beauty products to help keep you young looking and attractive.
Remember to read this very excellent PDF, telling you more about how strawberries can become an important part of your life. Once you start growing them, you are going to wonder how you did without them!
Live Long and Prosper!