STRAWBERRY

mature strawberries ready for harvest

During the growing season, give strawberry plants a liquid potash feed – such as a tomato feed – every 7 to 14 days.  Application of  general fertilizer such as grow more at a rate of 50g per sq m 

In a heated greenhouse or conservatory, it is possible to bring forward flowering by several weeks, so long as the temperature does not go above 16°C (61°F), because this  will inhibit flowering. You will also need to hand pollinate the flowers.

As fruits start to develop, tuck straw underneath them to prevent the strawberries from rotting on the soil. Otherwise use individual fiber mats if these are not already in position. The straw or matStrawberries in containers can also be grown in an unheated greenhouse, which encourages an even earlier crop, by 10–14 days. In a heated greenhouse or conservatory, it is possible to bring forward flowering by several weeks, so long as the temperature does not go above 16°C (61°F), because this will inhibit flowering. You will also need to hand pollinate the flowers.ting will also help to suppress weeds. Weeds that do emerge should be pulled out by hand.

After cropping has finished, remove the old leaves from summer-fruiting strawberries with secateurs or hand shears. Also remove the straw mulch, fiber mat, or black polythene, to prevent a build-up of pests and diseases. 
Expect strawberry plants to crop successfully for three years before replacing them. Crop rotation is recommended to minimize the risk of an attack by pests and diseases in the soil.

strawberry plantation

SOME VARIETIES GROWN IN KENYA

Pajaro  Variety
It is short day variety that has a symmetrical shape, color and flavor. It is late maturing,with low production hence not popular.

Chandler
 Variety

The vigorous, high-yielding, Chandler strawberry plants produce very desirable strawberries. Chandler strawberries are very large, firm, and produce within 60 -75 days. The strawberries vary from being long and wedge-shaped to large and conical. They are a brilliant red color, glossy, and have an exceptional flavor Chandler strawberries are good for eating fresh or shipping and are very good for freezing. They are, however not the best for processing

Aiko Variety
Uniform, large, long fruit, of conical shape, with a pointed end, firm flesh, pale red color, slightly sweet, very resistant to transport and high yield.

Fern Variety
It is a day neutral variety that is high yielding with firm skin and sweet berry. Good for fresh market and processing.

FERTILIZERS, PRUNING, IRRIGATION & SPACING
FERTILIZERS
Avoid planting with fertilizers to avoid dehydration of the splits, since the plant goes into dormancy for 14 day. Within the first month deflower the first flowers and the second flowers to prevent premature fruiting. After 30 days fix CAN 10gms per hole in between the plants. The second month, top dress with NPK 17:17:17, 10gms (1 tablespoon) per hole between the plants. Fertilizers should be used to maintain soil fertility and maximize plant growth and fruit production. Strawberry being a heavy feeder needs to be regularly boosted with foliar feeds e.g easy grow vegetative, flower and fruit, calcium to firm the skin of the fruit and to decrease fruit deformities. Strawberries are self pollinating but cross pollination achieves a better yield.

SPACING
Dig holes of approximately 7.5cm deep, 30cm between rows and 30cm between plants giving a plant population of 75,000 plants per Ha. Apply 2gms/hole of a recommended nematicide e.g mocap , bionematode, nembedicine etc.

PRUNNING
During the cold and rainy season, the strawberries go into a rest period, at this stage all old and diseased leaves are removed off the plant to reduce infection from diseases or pests increase aeration and allow re-growth of foliage. Removed leaves should be collected and burnt outside the field. Cut off runners regularly except for those needed for planting. One or two runners can be rooted for the next planting. After seven month thin the plants to leave the mother and three daughters. The thinning can be established elsewhere

IRRIGATION
In the first month of establishment water daily in the evening for 30 days. This will help in root establishment and initial vegetative growth. From the second month onwards, after applying mulch, water twice or thrice a week depending on the weather. Best method of watering is through drip ,watering can or low pressure hose pipe.

SOILS

  • Grows on wide range of well drained soils. Although, deep sandy loams, rich in humus are most ideal, with good moisture retaining capacity.
  • The drainage should be sufficient to keep the water level at least 80 – 100cm  below the soil surface. Poor  drainage makes the strawberries weak and susceptible to diseases.
  • The ideal soil pH range is 5.5 – 6.5. Avoid saline soils.

STRAWBERRY RELATED LINKS

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