Strawberry farming: an introduction.
Strawberry is an important fruit crop in India and its commercial production is possible in temperate and subtropical areas of the country though varieties are available which can be cultivated in a subtropical climate. It can be generally cultivated in the hills and its main center of cultivation is Nainital and Dehradun in Uttar Pradesh. Also in Bangalore, West Bengal, and Kashmir valley. In recent times, it is being cultivated on the plain land of Maharashtra around Pune and Nashik. In the world, strawberries are harvested in the united states, Canada, Europe, and many countries in South America.
1) Climate conditions requirements for strawberry farming
Strawberries need a temperate climate for cultivation although some of the varieties can grow only in subtropical weather as they are slumbering and do not grow during winters. They are short-day plants. During flower development, they need a photoperiod of eight to twelve hours for about ten days.
Extremely high temperatures can have a cynical effect on growth and are detrimental to photosynthesis and productivity. Temperatures above 25 C can lessen fruit set and levels of total soluble solids at a similar time.
Strawberries can be classified into two groups on the basis of their response to the length of photoperiod as:
- Overbearing varieties: They develop flower buds during long as well as short light periods.
- Commercial varieties: They grow only during temporary light periods.
2) Soil condition
Strawberries have a fibrous root system. Hence, the majority of their roots remain on the top penetrating a maximum depth 15 cm. Moreover, it requires humus-rich soil for cultivation. They should be taken care that strawberries are not grown on soil that was previously used for tomatoes, potatoes, raspberries, pepper, or eggplant cultivation since these are highly nutrient extracting plants. They drain the soil of its nutrients. To add more, strawberries grow best in moderately acidic soil with a PH of 5.0-6.5, and EC below 0.7ms/cm is ideal for strawberry cultivation. They can also compress in soil with PH between 4.5 and 5.5 with liming.
3) Best planting season for strawberry farming
The ideal time for planting runners or crowns in hilly areas is September to October. If the planting is done too initially, plants shortfall vigour and end up with low yield and quality of fruits. If they are planned too late, runners evolve in march and crops are light. Runners are uprooted from the nursery, made into bundles, and planted in the field.
Strawberry cultivation season varies in India as below
Maharashtra- between August to November
Northeast- November to January
North India- September to January
South India – January and July
4) Land preparation
For cultivating strawberries, the land must be ploughed enormously and then harrowed. Organic manures must not be deeply ploughed because that works best when applied on the topsoil. Soil fumigation with methyl bromide (67%) or chloropicrin( 33%) preparatory to planting can check the populations of nematodes, verticillium wilt, and even some weeds. Once, the ploughing is complete the land is prepared for planting. various systems of strawberry plantation are followed such as a matted row, hill system, spaced row, or plastic mulch.
5) planting and plant lifecycle of strawberry farming
At the time of plantation, they must be adapted in soil smoothly with roots running straight downwards. Then the soil should be packed in a close-packed manner around the roots to keep air out. Though, one should be ensured that the growth point of strawberries plants stays just above the soil surface. They must be irrigated immediately after planting and must not be allowed to dry. The total plant population per acre is 24,000 plants.
The Strawberry plant’s total life is usually between 8 to 9 months. After plantation, if the circumstances are appropriate for the plants’ desired growth, the plants will start flourishing approximately 35-40 after planting.
6) Irrigation and after strawberry planting care
Since strawberries are relatively shallow-rooted, it is susceptible to conditions of drought. Planting early in autumn allows the plants to make good vegetative growth before the onset of winter. Nevertheless, in this case, it is essential to make certain that freshly planted runners are irrigated frequently after planting, apart from that, the mortality of the plants becomes high. Frequent irrigation rather than a few weighted ones favor the crop though avoid surplus irrigation.
Flower stems appearing on plants in the commencing stages after planting must be removed. This is so that the plants do not drain causing a depletion in their vitality. This process also helps the plants adapt themselves to drought and heat better. In the case of cultivars that produce a lesser number of daughter plants, this practice helps expand the strawberries plants to set inland and also enlarge the number of runners. overabundant plants are eliminated from outside the row during autumn or late summer if the matted row system is followed.
A) Role of Nitrogen-fixing bacteria
The strawberry plants are herb perennial and have a shallow root system. Yield and fruit quality are greatly influenced by efficient nutrient care. In view of the capability of biofertilizers to increase the availability of the applied nutrients to the plant. Thereby influencing the overall plant growth and development. Azotobacter- AZTOZ or Azospirillum- AZOSPIRILLOZ or both are useful at 1 liter per acre each. Its 2 to 3 application with intervals of 2 months gives excellent results.
B) Insects in strawberry
There are many categories of insects that can be found in strawberry plants. Many of them can harm the plants as they attract other pests and diseases. Such insects include APHID, Armyworm, hairy caterpillar, slugs, spider mites and thrips. For the elimination of such harm, spray Utkarsh Bio clean sweep @ 2-3 ml/litre of water.
Fungal diseases include angular leaf spot, anthracnose, leather rot, charcoal rot, powdery mildew, and leaf scorch. Therefore, use Utkarsh Fungfree.
7) Fruit growth and development
Strawberries are an aggregate fruit consisting of the swollen receptacle on the surface, of which are implanted the many external achenes or seeds with no fleshy mesocarp surrounding the seeds. An aggregate fruit is formed by the simultaneous ripening of a number of separate ovaries, all belonging to a single flower and adhering as a unit to a common receptacle. It is a non-climacteric fruit, as such, would not be expected to show an increased synthesis of ethylene during ripening.
To know more about strawberry farming, Watch our Webinar Recording of Profitable Strawberry Farming:
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