Strawberry Growing Guide:
Introduction to Strawberry Growing:- Strawberry is one of the important fruit crops in the world. This fruit is being grown on commercial scale in many countries in tropical and sub-tropical regions. The main advantage of strawberry cultivation is easy propagation and early maturity with high yields. Strawberries are an excellent source of anti-oxidants and vitamin ‘C’ and minerals. Strawberry fruits are used in many edible products such as preserves, milkshakes, fruit juice, Jams, pies, ice creams, and chocolates. Strawberries are mainly appreciated for its good juicy texture, aroma, bright red colour, and sweetness (high sugars). Strawberries can be grown in greenhouse, polyhouse, pots and containers. Even these fruits can be grown on terrace and balconies. If you have some space in backyard, it is good option to plant strawberries. Even though strawberries are native to temperate regions, most of the cultivars (varieties) can be grown in sub-tropical climatic regions. Strawberries fruits are grown throughout Europe, USA, Canada and South America. United States is a top producer of strawberries in the world. In India, Strawberries are grown on commercial scale in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh (UP), Maharashtra, West Bengal, Kashmir Valley, Bangalore, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. One can obtain decent profits with strawberry production under planned orchard management practices. The following article details about strawberry growing.
Scientific Name or Botanical Name of Strawberry:- Fragaria sp.
Family Name of Strawberry:- Rosaceae.
Genus of Strawberry:- Fragaria.
Strawberry Names in other Country Languages:- Strawberry (English), aarbei (Afrikaans), maduixa (Catalan), Aardbei (Dutch), Erdbeere (German), truskawka (polish), Lulushtrydhe (Albanian), istroberi (Cebuano), maasikmari (Estonian), φράουλα (Greek), sú talún (Irish), 딸기 (Korean), frawla ( Maltese), स्ट्राबेरी (Nepali), morango (Portuguese), Fresa (Spanish), فراولة (Arabic), 草莓 (Chinese), Fragola (Italian), jordbær (Norwegian), sàdtror-berrêe (Thai), dâu tây (Vietnamese), Yelag (Armenian), mansikka (Finnish), תּוּת שָֹדֶה (Hebrew), いちご (Japanese), zemene (Latvian), căpşună (Romanian), ផ្លែស្តបូរី (Cambodian), jahoda (Czech), Fraise (French), земляника (Russian), jordgubbe (Swedish), çilek (Turkish), ordbær (Danish), marcqvi (Georgian), eper (Hungarian), strawberi (Malay), sa aap: (Sanskrit), and zhawmoee (Taiwanese).
Strawberries in Indian Languages:- செம்புற்றுப்பழம் (Tamil), സ്ട്രോബെറി (Malayalam), Sdtraaberii (Hindi), ನೆಲಮುಳ್ಳಿ ಹಣ್ಣು (Kannada), स्ट्रॉबैरी (Marathi), Stawberry (Bengali), Istaber (Kashmiri), توت فرنگی (Urdu), Sṭrāberrī/స్ట్రాబెర్రీ (Telugu), and સ્ટ્રોબેરી (Gujarati).
Top 10 Production Countries of Strawberries:- The following are the top ten production countries of strawberries in the world.
- United States of America
- South Korea
Health Benefits of Strawberries:- The following are some of the health benefits of strawberries.
- Strawberries are good to strengthen immune system
- Strawberries are good for eyes
- Antioxidants and detoxifiers in strawberries can help relieving pain from Arthritis and Gout
- Strawberries help in fighting against cancers
- Strawberries are good for memory and brain function
- Strawberries can lower the blood pressure
- Strawberries are good for heart health
- Strawberries can reduce inflammation due to anti-oxidants presence
- Strawberries are wonderful fruits for weight loss
- Regular consumption of these fruits may prevent from birth defects
Varieties (Cultivars) of Strawberries:- There are many cultivars being grown across the world. However, some important varieties are grown in USA are Premier Florida-90, Missionary, Blackmore, Klonmore, and Klondike. Some of the varieties grown in India are Royal Sovereign, Srinagar, Pusa Early Dwarf, Seascape. Dilpasand, Torrey, Toiga, Bangalore and Solana. For high yield suitable varieties for your region, contact department of horticulture in your city.
Climate Requirement for Strawberry Growing:- Strawberries grows well in temperate climate. However, some varieties comes up well in sub-tropical areas as well. Temperature, photoperiod and light intensity are main factors that can directly affect the vegetative growth, quality and yield. This plant is very sensitive to frost conditions. Severe winter conditions may result in drastic reduction of fruit yield. Strawberries are short day plants and requires exposure to about 9 to 10 days of less than 8 hours sunlight for initiation of flowering. These plants will not record any growth and remain dormant in winter season.
Soil Requirement for Strawberry Growing:- Strawberry crop requires well-drained loamy soils rich in organic matter (humus) as these plant roots found in the top 14 to 15 cm soil. Avoid continuous growing of strawberries in the same soil. You should also avoid soils where tomato, eggplant, raspberry, peppers and potatoes are grown previously. Avoid alkaline soils and soils infected with nematodes. The ideal soil pH for strawberry growing is 5.5. to 7.0, these plants grows well in slightly acidic conditions. Low pH soils should be supplemented with lime. Commercial strawberry growers should go for soil testing. This test can tell you the soil suitability along with nutrients (fertility).
Propagation and Raising Runners in Strawberry Growing:- Propagation of straw berries are done through runners (vegetative propagation). Actually these are formed after the blooming season. Make sure the plants are allowed to set runners but not fruits. Good root system is required for new plantation in the field. With proper care and attention, one strawberry plant can produce easily 30 to 50 runners.
The planting should be carried out at 1.2 meter x 1.2 meter or 1.8 meter x1.8 meter distance on a separate bed prepared for strawberry runner production. Runner production may be increases with a growth regulator GA3 pray. The runners should be planted in poly bags using the potting media of 1:1:2 (sand: soil: farmyard manure) for 4 weeks.
Land Preparation, Planting and Spacing in Strawberry Growing:- The land should be prepared thoroughly by giving deep ploughing followed by couple of harrowing. 15 to 20 tonnes/ha of well decomposed farm yard manure can be supplemented in the soil during land preparation before planting. Planting method varies region to region. Healthy plant runners with a medium to large crown and well-developed root system should be planted in row system either in single or double rows in the main field. This crop can be planted on flat beds, matted rows, or even on raised beds. If you are planning this crop under irrigated conditions, the best method would be planting on ridges. in case of raised beds 4 meters x 3 meters or 4 meter x 4 meters is advised and the plant to plant distance should be 45 cm and row-to-row distance should be 60 cm to 75 cm.
Irrigation in Strawberry Growing:- As we know strawberry is a shallow rooted crop hence its plants are susceptible to drought conditions. The frequency of irrigation depends climate and soil moisture level. However, it requires frequent irrigation with less amount of water. Make sure that that newly planted runners are irrigated frequently for better vegetative growth and root set. In general, irrigation should be given twice a week once plants are well established and if there are no rains (fry /hot climates). In winter, once in a week is good enough to maintain the soil moisture. During the fruit set, make sure plants get enough water for proper fruit development. You can adapt a sprinkler or drip irrigation for best water utilization. Avoid excessive irrigation as it may cause rotting and finally results in plant death.
Manures and Fertilizers in Strawberry Growing:- Proper application of manures and fertilizers in any crop play major role in healthy plant growth , quality produce and high yields. The following are nutrient requirement in strawberry growing.
- Well-decomposed farm yard manure: 20 tonnes (pre-planting)
- N:P:K – 20:40:40 kg/ha (pre-planting)
- Annual application of ‘K’ 80 kg/ha and ‘P’ 40 kg/ha is recommended.
- Additional nutrients for quality produce and higher yields: calcium sulphate (0.5%), boric acid (0.2%), zinc sulphate (0.5%) and foliar application of urea (2%).
Intercultural Operations in Strawberry Growing:- In any crop, giving proper and timely intercultural operations are essential for good plant growth and high yields.
- Plant care: As strawberry roots are close to the surface, the soil should be well supplied with moisture. Hoeing should be carry out lightly and make sure to keep the weed free environment.
- Mulching: Using mulch can save the plants from cold injury in winter and protect from moisture loss, control weed growth at plant base, maintains soil temperature. and finally can prevent the soil erosion. Even mulch material can work as excellent organic compost down the line.
Pests and Diseases in Strawberry Growing:- Controlling pests and diseases is essential in any crop cultivation.
Strawberry crop is affected by many pests and diseases. However, the severity of these pests and disease may vary according to region or location.
- Root weevil:
- Symptoms: Make deep tunnels in the crown base and finally the plants collapse.
- Control measure: Application of Carbofuran of 5 to10 kg/ha and Parathion of 0.017% around the plants can control this.
- Cut worms and white grubs:
- Symptoms: Cut the root and stem of young plants.
- Control measures: Deep ploughing and drenching the soil with chlorpyriphos @ 2ml/L water can control this.
- Verticillium wilt:
- Symptoms: The older leaves turn brown and shriveled, finally results in plant death.
- Control measures: The proper crop rotation apart from soil fumigation with chloropicrin 210 L/ha can control this.
- Leaf spot:
- Symptoms: Drying of leaves and defoliate will occur.
- Control measures: 5 sprays of carbendazim of 0.5 grams/liter water at 3 weeks intervals can control this.
Note:Your local Horticulture is a good source for finding suitable solutions for controlling pests and diseases in Strawberry Growing.
Harvesting in Strawberry Growing:- Strawberries can be picked when 60 to 75% of skin starts developing colour. It is recommended to harvest the fruits daily or alternate day as these fruits are highly perishable.
Post-Harvesting in Strawberry Growing:- Strawberry fruits needs lots of care in handling and storage due to their high perishability. It is recommended to pick the fruits in the early morning and sent to the market in the afternoon of the same day. If they picked in the late afternoon, you can store them in a cool place overnight and send them to market the following morning. You must grade the fruits based on size, color packed in plastic punnets and are placed in cardboard boxes before sending them to market.
Yield in Strawberry Growing:- Yield of strawberry crop varies from cultivar to cultivar (basically depends on variety), soil type, season, climatic conditions, irrigation and other orchard management practices. On an average, one can expect 25 to 30 tonnes per hectare. However, some commercial hybrid varieties may give up to 50 tonnes per hectare.