STRAWBERRY CULTIVATION GUIDE
Climate: Strawberry requires low temperature for vegetable growth & a slightly warmer climate of spring for flower initiation & fruiting. Spring frost is harmful.
Soil: Strawberry prefers well-drained light soil as heavy soil inhibits root development. Most. of the roots of strawberry are found in the top 15 cm of soil. The soil pH-5,8 – 6.5.
Varieties: Pusa Early Dwarf: Indian variety, suitable for the Terai region, very productive but fruits are small. Introduced varieties: Royal Sovereign, King’s seedling. Barren Sole Marker, Cambridge Vigour, Chandler, Tioga, Torrey, etc.
Propagation: Strawberry is propagated by runners. Runners are obtained from a 1-year old plant. Early formed runners are vigorous, have good root systems & are more productive & thus preferred for planting. For large scale production of disease-free plants, tissue culture methods are used.
Planting: In hills: Sept. – Oct, is the ideal time for planting runners. Initially formed, well-developed runners are best for planting. The Sept. – Oct. planted plants start giving quality fruits in spring.
In plains – Difficulty in the plain area is that it is difficult to save runners from the scorching heat. So for planting in plains, develop runners in hills, transport & plant them in Oct. Another alternative is, store runners in cold storage (30-32°F) during summers & plant them in Oct. Runners are planted in the evening hours & irrigated immediately.
Planting System: Strawberries may be planted in rows on flatbeds or in raised beds.
Hill row: In this system, the plants are grown in double rows on raised beds of 6m length, 45cm width & 15cm height. The distance between plant to plant must be 22 – 30 cm. On both sides of the raised beds, plants are planted. Runners are not allowed to grow.
Spaced Row: Here some runners are allowed to grow. The tips of selected runners are covered with soil which becomes plants. By doing this the daughter plants are spaced at definite distances. The runners formed, later on, are removed. Row to row 110cm and plant to plant 45 – 60 cm spacing.
Matted Row: In this system spacing is the same as under the row system. Runners are allowed to grow freely & runners cover the vacant space all around the mother plant ultimately covering the whole vacant space & giving the appearance of a mat. In this system, more plants can be accommodated per unit area which gives a higher yield. This method is simple and economic.
Soil Preparation: Soil preparation is very important for strawberry cultivation. The soil should be prepared by repeated plowing & removal of weeds, stubbles, etc. since most of the strawberry roots are confined in the fruit 40 cm of the soil surface, the soil should be friable.
Manuring: Application of 25 tonnes FYM along with 80 – 120 kg P, 50 – 80 kg K/ha during the preparation of beds is recommended. The N (80 – 120 kg/ha.) should be applied in 2 split doses, half in Sept. – Oct. after the establishment of plants & the remaining half before bloom.
Flowering & Fruiting
- Flowers start from the 1st week of Feb.
- After the flowering plant produces a flush of runners, they should be pinched out so that the total energy of the plant is directed for fruit production.
- The fruit is ready for harvesting after 3 weeks of flowering & fruit is available up to April.
- Ripe fruit must not touch soil; keep cushioning material or mulching material below the fruit.
Harvesting & Yield
- The fruits are harvested along with their stalks when 50% of the surface has attained red color.
- Strawberries are harvested in small trays or baskets & kept in shady places.
- After the harvesting allows the runners to develop to serve the purpose of propagating material for next year.
- GA3 (50 ppm) sprayed 4 days after flowering increases yield up to 31-41%. Morphectin (50 ppm) improves the fruit size.
- Average yield – 150 gm/plant.