Growing strawberries organically is an easy task!
Strawberries plants can be planted with most types of soil. A well drained light soil will be fine.
However, their favourite soil is dark rich sandy loam. The soil had been used one season before to grow crops will be the best choice; no matter you are growing strawberries in a raised bed garden or in a container.
Most of the strawberry plants are bisexual. It means they will produce berries by itself. However, some are exceptional, such as pistillate flowers without stamens will only produce fruits when they are fertilised with other strawberry flowers. So, the flavour of fruits produced from this strawberry plant may not be the same as those originals.
Strawberry plants love to be planted on a slope to the south, if possible. They often request for plenty of sunlight and moist.
If you have a big field, you can set rows at least 2.5 foot apart.
If you have a small growing space, set rows one foot apart and set your plants one foot apart in the row. Make a two feet wide walkway between every three rows of plants for easy access.
If you have a smaller planting area like ours, there won't be any extra rooms for walkway or even proper rows. In this way, you should not expect large strawberries harvest.
*Growing large berries in strawberry fields is possible, if you clip off all the strawberry runners from the parent plant once they appear. Keep the rows wide between each plant will have stronger and vigorous growth.
*Cover the ground around the root with straws, pine needles, wheat and oats; and weigh them with a little of soil, so that you will have clean and juicy berries when harvesting.
You will notice that I did not use straws to cover; but I use the small plastic pots (picture 1) to hold the berries instead. I found this is more effective; and we could manage our strawberries garden easily. It was because of our storm uncle came too often; and once he started blowing, all the straws would be gone.
*When the fruits are turning red (picture 3); the backyard black birds would come and steal the fruits every day. The birds are not afraid of anything. They needed to extract the organic salts from your ripe berries for their health purpose.
*You can use a net (picture 2) to protect the fruits after you put the plastic pots.
*You can open the net every day to adjust the strawberries fruits (picture 4) to help them to reach the sun.
*The net can also protect the fruits from the heavy rain drops.
The Best Time to Plant Strawberries
1. If you are planting in an open ground raised bed, the best time to plant is between end of summer; and before the winter season, when the soil is still cool and moist.
2. When you are growing strawberries at the South, set in the plants on a cloudy day or when the sun is weak.
3. The best time to set plants in the ground at the North location of your country is, on a frost free day in the early Spring.
When the strawberry plants are setting at the North,
should always be mulched to prevent injury caused by the hard freeze.
When nearly end of the growing season, the mother plant will grow runners. Strawberry runners are the babies from the strawberry plant.
If the parent plant is growing runners at their first season, it is encourage to cut off the runners before they develop into young plants. Because the runners will weaken the health of the mother plant. In another words, the mother plants are not strong enough to bear babies.
If the plant is more than one season old, you may either cut the runners (picture 5) and grow them separately from the mother plant (picture 6-7); or let them grow side by side together with the mother plant (picture 8). In this way, the runners will grow easily into young strawberry plants because part of their body is attached to the parent plant.
If you grow the runners separately; you have to place their mini roots totally in the soil besides the mother plant. Separate them and plant them into individual containers when they are with a few strong roots.
Alpine Types of Strawberries are Grown from Divisions of the Crowns of Roots.
*Bush Alpine strawberries (wild strawberries) do not produce runners, so they are propagation by division.
*To grow these strawberry variety, you can divide the roots in early spring, leaving only one or two crowns to a plant. If the old and central stems are very long, the lower and older part may be cut away, leaving only the upper and younger roots attached.
*Set out the plants again with the crown just lever the surface of the soil to encourage the new roots to grow above the old ones on the stem.
Growing strawberries young plants from seeds is definitely possible; if you choose to experience it. And it can be done either through purchasing the new organic seeds from the market; or extract them from your favourite ripened strawberries.
1. Prepare one layer of one inch wet potting soil on a portable greenhouse (picture 9) hot bed.
2. Spread all the seeds on top of it.
3. Cover the top with one layer of dried soil.
4. Sprinkle clean water on top every day, then put on a transparent cover.
The seeds grew into young plants on the day 42 (picture 10).
Some young plants were transferred to their individual containers (picture 11); and some growing in groups in a wooden box (picture 12).
How to Extract Seeds and Propagate Young Plants
*You can extract seeds from your best sweet ripen strawberries by crushing the fruit and wash out the seeds. In this way, you will be able to know which are the good seeds and which are not. Because the good seeds will remain at the bottom; the rest of the seeds and the pulp will be floated. Thereafter, dry them and keep them away in a dark, dry and cool place; if you are using them later.
*You can use a toothpick to extract seeds right from the ripe strawberry skin. In this way; you can save the fruit for consumption.
*If you wish to grow immediately and your place is still warm enough for germination, you may just crush a ripe organic strawberry (seeds part face down); and cover it with a thin layer of soil; and Keep the soil moist. In about one to two weeks time, you will be surprised with the mini cute young little strawberry plants (picture 13-16).
If you are planting strawberries in containers but growing outdoor, it is possible to transfer them outdoor once the frost is over.
Any time of the year can be the best time for growing strawberry plants in pots. Transplanting will be allowed only when the sun is away.
We have too many strawberry plants, so we have to split some to the greenhouse, some outdoor on the shelf; and some growing in the raised beds.
This year we have built a small green sun house (picture 17 above) at the South side of the garden hedge solely for the strawberries plants. All the organic grown strawberry plants will be moving into the sun house in the Autumn.
How to Care for Potted Strawberry Plants After Winter
1. If you kept your strawberry plants indoor in the winter; when the frost is over, choose a sunny day to week your strawberry plants. Remove all the dead leaves and dead roots from the plants; and shorten the roots by 1/3 of their length before transplant. This pruning will encourage a new growth of fibres.
2. Prepare a good drainage pot, place some potting soil with fine sand mix. Wet the soil with Chlorine free natural mineral water and set in the plant.
3. Cover all the roots with the dry ground and add in your earth worms; then sprinkle rain water over the top soil near the roots. Place this at a sunny place; or in a fresh-air circulated greenhouse.
During The Growth
*When the plant is fruiting, use short bamboo sticks to support the fruit vines so that the fruits will not be too close to each other.
*If the sun is too strong for the strawberry plants, change their positions.
*If the plants cannot reach the sun; you can move the pot everywhere to face the sun (picture 18).
*Earth-up when necessary.
*Keep the soil moist at all times.
*Harvest strawberries when they are red and glossy (picture 19). The best time to harvest should be around 10 am.
After Harvesting the Runners Care
*After harvest all your fruits and runners; you can carry on with water feeding; tidy-up the plants; and move them into your greenhouse or keep them at the same location until the cold set in.
*When the winter arrive; you may move the plants indoor or in a greenhouse (with protection); or leave them outdoor with winter protection.
*If you intend to put the strawberry pots outdoor; remember not to set the plants in the earth-pots; as the earth-pot may easily be damaged by the frost.
Either you are using strawberry planters; or baskets (picture 20) or plastic containers (picture 21); or herb planters (picture 22); or window box (picture 23) or earth pots, there will not have much difference.
The most important is your plants must have good drainage growing pots, rich sandy soil, clean water, moderate sunlight and fresh air.
Growing strawberries plants in re-usable plastic baskets will have no over-watering or poor drainage problems. It will generate excellent results when you water them regularly and keep the soil moist at all times, as the soil will be dried out easily especially with the hanging baskets in the dry summer days.
*If you have no time to grow strawberries from seeds or runners,
the best choice is, to purchase those one season old runners from the organic fruits nursery in early Spring.
Organic Strawberries from your home garden are tastier than those bought from the supermarket, right?