Allstar Strawberry Care: Tips For Growing Allstar Strawberries
Strawberry Plants And Their Uses
The strawberry plant is one of the most popular fruits grown commercially. They are also known as “strawberries” because they have small berries with a sweet taste.
These berries are used mainly in desserts such as pies, cakes, ice cream and other foods. Some people like them raw or cooked but almost everyone enjoys eating them when prepared properly!
There are many varieties of strawberries. There are those that produce large quantities of fruit and those that do not.
Most strawberries grow well indoors but some prefer outdoor conditions so they need to be protected from frost and sun exposure. A few types (like the quince) will never thrive outdoors even if given the best care and protection.
Strawberries are very versatile and can be eaten fresh, frozen or canned. Fresh strawberries taste great but they tend to ripen too quickly.
Frozen strawberries keep for months and are perfect for making preserves. Strawberries can also be dried and used in jams, jellies, pickles etc.
Growing strawberries indoors can be very easy and fun. All you need is seeds, a good quality soil and containers to start with.
The soil should always be damp and you can use a spray bottle to keep the soil moist when necessary. For small plants use small containers such as bottles. For large plants use bigger containers such as plastic tubs filled with soil.
Planting strawberry seeds is easy and fun for the whole family. Most of the seeds you buy from the store or receive from friends and relatives will sprout easily.
These types of strawberries are called “day neutral” types and can be planted outdoors during any season. All you need is a sunny spot and rich soil that drains well.
When planting strawberry plants for the first time, it is a good idea to use plastic tubing or row covers to protect them until they become established. These row covers should be removed at least once a week so that the plants get adequate sunlight.
Strawberries love water and lots of it. After planting, use a spray bottle to keep the soil constantly damp during dry periods.
Strawberries do not like heavy shade or places that collect moisture so always try to plant them in an open sunny spot. During the first year of growth, strawberry plants should be watered daily or every other day during extended dry periods.
It is very important to keep a record of when you water your plants. This will help you determine when to water them during future years.
In general you should water less during the second and third years. After the third year, they should be self-sufficient as far as watering needs.
Strawberries are always easy to grow and will provide you and your family with fresh fruit for many years to come.
Strawberries And Their Diseases
Strawberries are easy to grow and fun to eat but if you do not take care of them properly they can become diseased. Some of the most common diseases that attack strawberries are described below.
Leaf spot – This disease is usually caused by excess moisture on leaves. Spots appear in the shape of concentric circles.
The spots slowly grow in size until the leaf falls off. To avoid leaf spot make sure you water your plants during the early morning and never around the time of sunset. Spread a layer of mulch around the plants and keep it an inch away from the stems.
Downy Mildew – This disease is caused by humid conditions at the base of the plant. It appears as a white powdery substance at the base of the plant.
The leaves turn yellow and fall off, smaller deformed berries grow in thier place.
Blossom End Rot – This disease causes the bottom of the berries to turn dark brown and leathery. It is caused by a lack of calcium in the soil.
Apply a layer of mulch, manure or garden lime at the base of the plant to help the problem.
Cankers – These are enlarged areas on stems or roots that exude foul smelling ooze. The cankers prevent the plant from absorbing water and nutrients and eventually kill the plants.
The disease is caused by factors like mechanical injury, nutrient deficiencies, dehydration or infection by bacteria or viruses.
Blights – Blight is a term used to describe many diseases that cause spotting on the leaves and irregular coloration. Many of these diseases trigger similar symptoms and must be treated quickly in order to save the plant.
Other Diseases – There are many other diseases that attack the strawberry, to learn more about them check out your local bookstore or do an online search.
Insects And Their Diseases
There are many insects that love to feed on the leaves, stems and fruits of the strawberry. In some cases they cause direct damage to the plant while in other cases their waste creates conditions that lead to disease.
Some of these insects and the diseases they carry are described below.
Aphids – These small insects excrete a sticky waste called honeydew, which is used as a food source by ants. The honeydew is often covered by a blackish sooty mold, which prevents light from reaching the leaf surface and causes the plant to absorb less sunlight.
Leaves with heavy infestations often turn yellow and fall off.
Aphids also transmit a virus called cucumber mosaic through their feeding activities.
Sources & references used in this article:
Effect of cultural system and storage temperature on antioxidant capacity and phenolic compounds in strawberries by P Jin, SY Wang, CY Wang, Y Zheng – Food chemistry, 2011 – Elsevier
Effect of Different Cultural Systems on Antioxidant Capacity, Phenolic Content, and Fruit Quality of Strawberries (Fragaria × aranassa Duch.) by SY Wang, P Millner – Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 2009 – ACS Publications
Resveratrol content in strawberry fruit is affected by preharvest conditions by SY Wang, CT Chen, CY Wang… – Journal of Agricultural and …, 2007 – ACS Publications
Influence of plant storage duration on strawberry runner tip viability and field performance by SC Hokanson, F Takeda, JM Enns, BL Black – HortScience, 2004 – journals.ashs.org
Prohexadione-calcium applications to suppress runner growth in strawberries grown in a plasticulture system by DT Handley, JF Dill, RE Moran – Acta horticulturae, 2009 – ir4.rutgers.edu
INTERCROPPING STRAWBERRIES WITH MARIGOLDS, PARSLEY, AND DILL by J Whitworth – HortScience, 1994 – journals.ashs.org