Caring for strawberries: Most common mistakes

A strawberry plant with fruits
A strawberry plant with fruits

Strawberries from your own garden are one of the most popular fruits. The cultivation succeeds without any problems. However, if you have not had success so far, it may be due to these mistakes.

Mistake 1: Not watering strawberries enough after planting

A good water supply helps the thirsty strawberry plants to form their root system to optimally supply leaves, flowers and fruits later. Until freshly planted strawberries have grown in, regular watering is therefore particularly important. But even plants that have grown in should be kept evenly moist from spring, when they push buds, until the fruit is formed. This guarantees that they will produce large fruits. But too much moisture can promote diseases and pests on strawberries. If possible, do not water over the leaves and never in the center. When planting strawberries, make sure the center bud is slightly above the ground, so the foliage can dry quickly.

Mistake 2: Fertilizing strawberries with garden compost

Garden compost usually has high salt content and then harms strawberries more than it helps. This is because the roots of strawberry plants are sensitive to salt. Therefore, be careful with too much compost. This is especially true if the compost consists mainly of kitchen waste, lawn clippings and other herbaceous plant parts. On the other hand, if the source material is woodier, the salt content in the compost will also be lower. Leaf compost is ideal. Mature garden compost that has been placed in a balanced mixture of appropriate source materials also produces beautiful humus and then serves not as a fertilizer but improves the soil. A compost layer of three to five centimeters (1 to 2 in), carefully worked into the soil, increases the humus content, strengthens water-holding capacity and promotes soil life. Strawberry plants are originally plants of the forest margin, which grow in humus rich soils in their natural habitat. Humic, however, does not mean mastic.

Many garden composts are rich in nitrogen. But too much nitrogen has been shown to reduce strawberry yields. Strawberry plants sprout from too much nitrogen. Flower formation decreases and the risk of gray mold increases. More important than lots of growth accelerator is lots of potassium, as found in organic berry fertilizer with a low salt content. Potassium promotes fruit formation.

Mistake 3: Not cut off old leaves after harvesting and disposed off

Old foliage unnecessarily costs the plant strength and prevents new stocking. If you forget to cut the strawberries, they become more susceptible to fungal diseases. Therefore, cut off old leaves after the first full harvest. This can be down to the center. Also remove all tendrils, unless you want to grow new strawberry plants from offshoots. Dispose of the old, dried and damaged foliage in the trash. If you let it go through the compost, you may be bringing in disease.

Mistake 4: Strawberries fertilized too much in the spring.

A heavy fertilization of strawberries in the spring is often at the expense of fruit yield. Instead of flowering, once-bearing strawberry plants produce massive leaves. Two grams of nitrogen per square meter (10 sq ft) is quite sufficient. With a compound (NPK) fertilizer, calculate about 16 grams per square meter. It is more important to fertilize your once-bearing strawberries after harvest in summer, preferably with a berry fertilizer. This is because the strawberry plants are now forming their flower sets for next year. If you have planted new strawberry beds in summer, wait until the first new leaves appear before fertilizing. Then the plants are rooted and can absorb the fertilizer. This is usually the case after about three weeks.

Everbearing strawberries need more fertilizer. During the strawberry season, they tolerate an application of about five grams per plant of organic berry fertilizer every two weeks. If strawberries are kept in pots or boxes on balconies and terraces, they may even be fertilized weekly. In this case, a flowering plant fertilizer can be applied with the water.

Mistake 5: Did not mulch strawberries

Strawberries love it sunny above and shaded below. The best way to comply with the desire of the original woodland plant is a layer of mulch, so strawberries are well mulched with straw. Under the cover layer, the root zone stays nice and moist. But the covering in the root area not only protects against drying out. The fruits lie dry and stay clean.

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