Strawberry : Learn health benefits, varieties, cultivation technique, propagation & mulching

Introduction:

  • Botanical name: Fragaria ananassa
  • Family:Rosaceae
  • Origin: Europe
  • ananassa is natural hybrid
  • Fragaria chiloensis × Fragaria virginiana
  • Flavour is due to Ethyle butanoate and Ethyle hexanoate
  • Strawberry can be used differently like fruit, jam, juice and wine, chocolates, flavouring etc.
  • In Nepal, strawberry is grown on a very limited scale in scattered pockets, concentrated in Kakani (Nuwakot) and periphery.
  • Monoecious, short day, low perennial herb and quick growing fruit plant
  • Rich in vitamin C and iron
  • Flowers are borne in small cluster and white in colour
  • Type of inflorescence: Dichotomic raceme
  • Type of fruit: Etaerio of achenes
  • Major pollinator: Honey bee
  • Edible portion: Succulent receptacle
  • Chromosome no.(2n) = 56 (8x)

Health Benefits:

  • Contains high amount of folic acid so, good for artherosclerosis, vascular disease decline in cognitive function patients
  • Reduce heart attack risk, (3 + strawberries daily)
  • High amount of vitamin C
  • Contains anthocyanins which is powerful antioxidant (sun)
  • Strawberry also contains significant levels of ellagic acid, which is thought to be an anticarcinogenic.

Crown:

  • Thickened stem
  • Growing point at upper end
  • Roots at base
  • New leaves and flower clusters emerge from “fleshy buds” in the crown in the early spring
  • Crown growth and development occur when temperatures are above 500 F
  • Maintain 3-4 crowns per plant

Varieties:

Three types of strawberries are available:

  • June bearers which fruit once each season
  • Day neutrals that fruit several times each season
  • Ever bearers that despite their name, fruit twice each season

Cultivated Varieties in Nepal:

  • Previously, Nyoho onho variety were widely cultivated recently, Ankhime and Eyeberry varieties are also introduced
  • Scattered varieties in Nepal
  • Pusa early dwarf, king`s seedling, Canbridge vigour, Chandler

Propagation:

  • Runners – Most common
  • Use those formed after blooming
  • Early formed runners are vigorous, productive and have better root establishment
  • Runners are hard to find in semi-arid regions
  • Stem cutting also done
  • Propagation by seed done for varietal improvement
  • Important to buy disease free plants from reliable nursery.

Climate:

  • grows well under temperate climate.
  • They flower and set strawberries whenever the temperature is 20C to 290C (350F to 850F)
  • With availability of new cultivars, it can be cultivated in tropical and subtropical conditions
  • Daylight period of 12 hrs or less and but differs with cultivars
  • Minimum of 6 hours of sunlight.

Planting Time:

  • Sep- oct is ideal time for planting
  • They give quality fruits in spring

Planting material

  • Plugged saplings
  • Bare rooted saplings

Prefer growing sapling from runner in hills

Or, Store runners in 00 C during summer and plant in October

Soil:

  • Well-drained
  • High in organic matter.
  • Sandy loam to loamy soil
  • Slightly acidic for root formation – 5.7 to 6.5 pH.
  • Strawberry plants are highly sensitive to salt. Too much salt n your soil can cause leaf scorch,”

Land Preparation:

  • Start 1 month before planting.
  • Use as much organic matter as possible.
  • Create beds – hill or matted rows, or raised for better
  • Apply fertilizer a few days before planting

Soil sterilization

  • Wet the beds with irrigation water upto 75% water holding capacity of soil
  • In pH neutral irrigation water, mix 30 ml ACUROSIL NANO+ in 1 ltr of water
  • Apply this solution @ 1 litre / m2
  • Leave this field undisturbed for 12 hours
  • For effective application, only apply on the raised bed where plantation is to be done.

Training system:

Matted row

  • The runners are usually planted at 90-110 cm X 45-60 cm spacing
  • After the initial growth of the first year, runners are allowed to cover the whole space
  • It gives appearance like mat so called as matted row

Spaced row:

  • Moderate to weak in producing runners.
  • Similar to Matted row but the daughter plants are spaced at definite distances by covering the selected tips of runners with soil which become plants
  • This is done till the desired number of daughter plants are obtained for each mother plant
  • The runners formed later on are removed.

Hill system

Principle: Achieving large fruit size and excellent quality on a regular basis can only be achieved with first-year plants

  • This system is followed for the cultivars developing a few runners
  • All runners are removed from the mother plant.
  • The individual plants become large and bear more than those in matted row.
  • The plants are planted 25-35cm × 25-35 cm apart in twin rows
  • Single row is also practiced

Mulching:

  • Mulching is an important operation in strawberry cultivation
  • Be done just after planting (before start their growth) for checking weed growth and
  • conserving moisture in the soil
  • Fruit rotting is also reduced by inorganic mulch.
  • It is two types:
  • Inorganic mulch – Black plastic film (widely used) and silver plastic film
  • Organic mulch – leaves, wheat and paddy straw, news-paper and dry grasses etc.

Plastic film:

  • Silver or black plastic film is used
  • control weed and conserve moisture
  • Silver plastic are used in hot areas, to distract insects
  • Black plastic help increase soil temperature
  • With black plastic scalding of berries take place in hot days
  • In this system berries are kept clean and reduced the rot and mold.
  • The plants bloom earlier.

Irrigation:

  • Strawberry being a shallow rooted
  • Plant requires more frequent but less amount of water in each irrigation
    • First two months – Twice per week without rain
    • Third month – Weekly
    • Fourth and fifth months -Every two weeks
    • Fruiting begins – Increase again for larger fruits
  • With drip irrigation apply water @200 ml/ plant/day

Nutrient Management:

  • A fertilizer dose of 25-50 tonnes farmyard manure
  • 75-100: 80-120:40-80 kg NPK/ha
  • Note:
  • FYM are mix the soil at preparation of planting bed
  • Half dose of K2O and full dose of P2O5 are placed in the planting rows at 15-20 cm depth
  • Half N is should be broadcast in inter-row spaces one month after planting
  • Remaining N and K2O should be side dressed at the time of flowering
  • Foliar spraying of N @ 0.5%, P2O5 @ 0.2% and K2O @ 0.5% during crop establishment is advisable.

Fertigation:

  • Strawberry plant requires 200 ml water per day
  • Apply through drip considering soil condition and class
  • Early growth – 1st fruit set – 3:1:4 NPK
  • 1st fruit set – end harvest – 2 :1 :4
  • Post-Harvest – 2 :2 :3
  • All at 3 – 4 kg/ha/wk N

Growth Regulators:

  • Application of GA3 (50 ppm) After 4 days of flowering and MH (0.1-0.3%) after flowering increases yield by 31-41%
  • Morphaction (50 ppm) inproves fruit size.

Aftercare:

  • Flower stem should be removed as they appear on plant after planting
  • If not removed, flowers create a drain on the plant, reducing their vitality, number and size of daughter plant
  • In Hill system, runners should be cut as and when they appear. With matted row system surplus plant should be removed
  • Keep the crop weed-free during first season by cultivating, applying herbicides or plastic mulch
  • It should be ensured that soil remains around the crown without covering them
  • Make sure the fruits don’t touch soil or fruit may rot.

Harvesting:

  • Fruiting happens after 3 to 4 months
  • Slightly soft darkening seeds
  • Harvest daily, early morning, dry conditions
  • Non- climacteric, harvest when fully ripe
  • Pinch between thumb and forefinger, pull with twisting motion, leave stem on fruit.

Storage

  • Strawberry is highly perishable
  • commodity so this can store for maximum 7-10 days
  • At 00 C and 90-95 RH.

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