The Strawberry Growing Master Manual

The Strawberry Growing Master Manual
The Strawberry Growing Master Manual

 

* Manual Format: Digital Download

Strawberries. Everyone loves them. The small red fruits meld their aroma and taste together perfectly for what many food connoisseurs describe as a truly sublime gustatory experience. So delightful is the fruit that literally billions of dollars are made each year from the sale of the savory succulents. The enormous Californian strawberry companies that produce tons upon tons of strawberries don’t want you to know something, however. In fact, they don’t want you to know several things…

They don’t want you to know that you can easily grow your own strawberries at home in as little as one half of a cubic foot of dirt! You don’t need acres upon acres of land.

They don’t want you to know how much money you can save by growing your own strawberries instead of buying berries from them! Strawberry plants are one of the most productive garden plants based on size-to-harvest ratio.

They don’t want you to know how enjoyable it is to see little plants produce heaps of strawberries that you can immediately eat! There is no need to fight the crowds at the supermarket or grocery store to enjoy ultra-fresh berries.

And, my friend, those are just a few of the myriads of benefits you’ll realize by growing your own strawberries. Let me tell you briefly about the value you will be able to realize by using The Strawberry Growing Master Manual to produce your own strawberries. To best understand this value, let’s start with some of what makes strawberry plants so amazing…

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Mulching Strawberry Plants in the Summer

mulching strawberry plants in the summer

mulching strawberry plants in the summerQ: Should I Mulch Strawberry Plants?

On April 9, 2015, Kim Ruby asked:

Hello – I live in North Central Florida. My growing season is different than the northern climates. My strawberry season is ended by June. This past year I planted 40 Sweet Charlie bare root plants in November and they are doing great. I have been pinching the berries this year giving the plant a chance to establish. Should I use straw mulch to protect my strawberry plants from the summer heat? If not, what do you suggest? Thank You.

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Novelty Strawberries

pineberries

novelty strawberriesNovelty Strawberries for the Home Garden

It is finally that time of year again! The winter freeze is in the process of giving way to the spring thaw, and that means it is time to start planning your garden. The sooner you start planning, the sooner you will be ready to plant, and the sooner you will be ready to harvest delicious earth-grown produce.  Novelty strawberries could be an option for the adventurous gardener this year.

Since strawberry plants often find their way into many gardeners' plots each year, I thought it might be beneficial to review some of the lesser-known options. If you have a square foot garden or a few extra rows (or even a partial row) of space to use, you may want to consider branching out into some of these novelty strawberry varieties.

Everyone knows the traditional red and juicy strawberry. Many don't know that there are other, less-common options available as well. This post will familiarize you with you options. If you are a bit adventurous and willing to branch out, try planting one or more of these novelty strawberries. You'll find them unique and well-suited as attraction-getters, whether you use them in salads, enter them in contests, or find other amazing uses for them!

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Recommended Strawberry Varieties for Canada

Recommended Strawberry Varieties for CanadaStrawberry plants are, in my humble opinion, a truly fascinating marvel of nature.  They are amazingly adaptable; they propagate themselves in a plurality of ways; and they produce a fleshy red, white, yellow, or purple fruit that is universally prized by the intelligent and instinctive creatures that live all around us (including us human folk!).  They have developed and adapted means of surviving sub-zero temperatures, and, consequently, can be grown from the warmer temperate regions of our great planet all the way north or south to the frigid regions.

But, their adaptability and genetic flexibility have allowed for selective breeding.  Researchers have been able to breed for desired characteristics.  And, while such breeding programs have allowed for improved disease resistance, bigger strawberries, different colors, and more commercially-viable cultivars, the breeding has also culled some of the hardiness from some of the varieties as specificity has narrowed by region.  Today, not just any strawberry variety will do well in just any ol' location.  The more extreme the weather, the more specific one should be when selecting a specialized variety for planting in order to obtain the best harvest from your efforts.

That, my strawberry-loving friends, is where this post can help!  If you live in the frigid environs of Canada (at least in winter), you need to know how to pick an appropriately hardy strain of strawberry plants so that you end up happy with your final yield of fruit.  If you are from the United States, go here for your state-by-state recommended varieties.  This page is a compilation of each of the recommend strawberry variety lists for each of the Canadian provinces and territories.

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How to Grow Certified Organic Strawberries

How to Grow Certified Organic StrawberriesAlthough strawberries have been at the pinnacle of the produce pyramid for decades, their popularity continues to grow.  Unless a strawberry allergy forces a saddened consumer away from these bright red edibles, they are usually the first to vanish from fruit trays across the globe.  Strawberries are delicious, there’s no doubt about that, but they have gotten a bad reputation of late.  Conventional growing methods use fumigants, chemicals, and other methods to maximize production and profits.  But, more and more people are becoming disillusioned and distrustful of conventional methods and are increasingly concerned over potential deleterious consequences of consuming the trace amounts of those chemicals when the fruits are consumed.  This trend toward natural and organic produce has opened a door for new growers to eschew chemical-based practices for potentially safer methods of growing strawberries.  The market for organic strawberries is growing, and the interest in growing them is increasing among potential strawberry farmers as well due to the premium price that organic strawberries bring over their conventionally-grown counterparts.

If you are interested in learning how to grow certified organic strawberries, this guide will help you get started.

This post will focus on the requirements a potential grower must meet in order to legally use such terms as “organic,” “100% organic,” or “made with organic ingredients.”  If you desire to sell your organic produce at a farmer’s market or any other public or private venue, you need to know the requirements so that you don’t run into trouble with the law.

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4 Secrets to Growing Loads of Organic Strawberries

4 secrets to growing loads of organic strawberriesI have been growing and helping others grow organic strawberries for many years.  While the segment of the population that is concerned about how their food is grown is still a minority, more and more people are discovering the benefits of sustainable agriculture.  And, as more and more gardeners test out their green thumbs, gardens all around the world are finding strawberry plants inhabiting space next to herbs and other garden plants.  Going green and growing healthy food go well together; and since virtually everyone loves strawberries, this post will help those who want to eschew the conventional methods (which are somewhat notorious for producing dirty strawberries) for potentially safer ones.  Plus, since no one wants to trade a basket full of bright, plump strawberries for just a hand full, the four secrets I'll fill you in on momentarily will help you get started on your journey of successfully growing organic strawberries!

First Things First!

Before getting to the secrets, a few preliminaries are in order.  There are some key decisions that have to be made prior to planting strawberry plants.  You need to know which of the main types of strawberries you want to plant…

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Growing Organic Strawberry Plants

growing organic strawberry plants0031 : Strawberry Plants Library

This is an entry in the Strawberry Plants Library here at Strawberry Plants .org. Continue reading for summarized information. The entire resource may be accessed or downloaded by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.

Growing Organic Strawberry Plants: Summary

This excellent document was produced by a very skilled and knowledgeable team from Cornell University. The coordinating editors were Juliet Carroll, Marvin Pritts, and Catherine Heindenreich.  Multiple contributors included: Kerik Cox, Greg Loeb, Michael Helms, Andrew Landers, Paul Curtis, Courtney Weber, and Laura McDermott.  The staff writers were Elizabeth Graeper Thomas and Theodora Bucien, while Mary Kirkwyland and Michelle Marks further edited the 2013 version of this guide.  This production was funded in part by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.  For each of the departments and specialties represented by the contributing team, download the resource via the link at the end of this page.

The following is covered in the publication:

Introduction to Growing Organic Strawberries

1.  There are three main obstacles to successfully cultivating strawberries organically.

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Strawberry Plants Benefit from Fungus

strawberry plants benefit from fungusIf you mention fungal infections to strawberry farmers, you will likely watch as faces either go pasty white with fear or purple with rage.  Fungi can wipe out whole fields of strawberries leaving the farmers with nary an avenue of recourse but to treat and replant with a more hardy variety of strawberry.  With the phase out of methyl iodide (and the banning of other fumigants that were used to wipe out fungus spores) due to public concerns and possible health impacts, strawberry farmers are looking for other ways to control or eliminate losses due to pathogenic fungal infection.  Using coconut coir as a growth medium and anaerobic soil disinfestation both may be used more widely in the future.  Another option may become viable at a time yet future as well.

When most people think of companion planting, they think of planting synergistic plant species in proximity to one another to maximize the beneficial interactions.  But, as it turns out, the mycologists may have a new reason to celebrate.  While many people have been using mycorrhizal fungi for many years to grow large garden plants, strawberry farmers have often tried to completely eliminate all types of fungi from interacting with strawberry plants because of the aforementioned detrimental effects that many of the microorganisms inflict on Fragaria species.  The University of California has fired the first salvo in changing that preconceived notion, however.  A recent study has shown that certain entomopathogenic fungi can be used with strawberry plants to kill mites and other strawberry pests while leaving the strawberries unharmed.

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How to Germinate Strawberry Seeds

how to germinate strawberry seeds0030 : Strawberry Plants Library

This is an entry in the Strawberry Plants Library here at Strawberry Plants .org. Continue reading for summarized information. The entire resource may be accessed or downloaded by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.

Germinating Strawberry Seeds: Summary

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Growing Winter Strawberries?

This is a question submitted to Strawberry Plants .org by a reader. The information provided in response to the question may benefit others with the same or similar inquiries. Therefore, it has been added to the archive page of submitted questions. See the Strawberry FAQ for more questions, or use the search box at the top right of this page to search this site for information.

Q: Growing Winter Strawberries?

On December 29, 2010, Gerard Caron asked:

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