How to increase the strawberry harvest? This question has been probably asked by every gardener, since the garden strawberry (the official name of strawberry) isone of the most spread and favorite crops.
Of course, we assume that first of all you have chosen a quality planting material, and have been scrupulous about the choice of place and time of planting strawberries. Now it’s about farming techniques.
If you really expect to get a bountiful harvest of strawberries, you can’t do without mulching the garden-beds. This most important technique allows you to solve two problems at once: get rid of weeds that take water from the berries, and keep the soil undried and friable in any weather. In addition, your berries will remain clean and dry until gathering harvest. Mulching is especially relevant if you do not have the opportunity to check the condition of the beds every day.
It is necessary to mulch the beds after their thorough loosening and applying fertilizers. As mulch you can use film, non-woven materials, cut straw, pine needles, a mixture of loose peat with well-rotted compost or humus, even mown lawn grass or cardboard.
The easiest thing you can do for your strawberries to increase their yield is to water the seedlings properly.
The most common mistake is to stop regular watering after gathering harvest. It seems that the berries have been harvested and the garden-bed can be mentioned not so often already. But this is not the case – because this crop begins to set next year’s flower buds in mid-summer, and if it is not watered, there will be very few of them. And, consequently, there will be few fruits next summer. So, do not be lazy and water your strawberries. In particular, in the early stages of development, do not forget that strawberries with their shallow root system love water and cannot stand drying of the soil. The best option for these berry bushes is drip irrigation, when the moisture comes directly to the roots, without affecting the leaves and berries. At the same time you should remember, that watering too much will do nogood, excess moisture is harmful to strawberries.
On average, (if there is no major drought) watering is done once a week, more often – only during flowering and fruit ripening. It is desirable to water strawberries early in the morning or in the evening when there is no scorching sun.
Fertilizing strawberries during flowering, fruiting, and after gathering harvest is a matter of responsibility. During the season, the plants need to be fertilized at least 3 times, and this should be done competently and in time. The best way to apply fertilizers is after watering or rain. Specialized preparations are used as fertilizers.
The first fertilizing is done in spring, when the bushes are thoroughly cleaned of dry and diseased leaves, and the ground is friable.
Most often garden strawberries suffer from various diseases when the berries ripen in cool and humid weather. Therefore, special attention should be paid to the early diagnosis of garden strawberry diseases and their prevention.
Consuming nutrients from the soil, strawberries can spend them either on fruit formation or on propagation. Thus, by removing the tendrils, you can stimulate the plant to more abundant fruiting. In spring, strawberries do not have many tendrils, so you can remove them gradually but regularly, or wait for their active growth and remove all at once. If they are not needed for propagation, then even after the plant has finished fruiting, the shoots should still be removed regularly. However, if you need the seedlings, the tendrils need to be given the opportunity to grow strong rosettes.
At the time of fruit setting, it is also important to remove excessive leaves, especially those covering the berries from the sun.
The main secret of a wonderful strawberry harvest is the result of following a few rules and hard work. Have a bountiful harvest!