By: Savannah Audrey
Source: Jagrofresh website.
The Agricultural Research Institute has described strawberries as a fruit that is difficult to grow, as it needs to be continually monitored for protection from diseases.
Although the main planting season for strawberries begins in September, the nursery preparation process begins well ahead with the planting of mother stock. Tended with the utmost care, a few weeks after planting these mother plants start shooting runners, which are then cut and potted in preparation for bed planting.
Greenhouse construction includes the careful laying of gradients for proper drainage, much for proper weed/pest cover and dipper systems for fertigation – a few of the myriad aspects covered meticulously in this phase. Land and bed preparation, as we call the preparation of the lay of the soil and land, is an arduous task requiring much precision and once the beds and irrigation systems are ready, planting begins in earnest. Each potted plant is carefully removed and planted in neatly aligned beds, angled just right to absorb as many nutrients as are required for the months of work ahead.
From this point on, care is a mix of diligent tending of the plant, weeding and providing the optimum support, in the form of bees for pollination, plant analyses for ensuring the maximum possible nutrients are absorbed, and warding off of pests.
Harvesting of strawberries starts two months after planting, when fruit is at its biggest, tastiest and juiciest. The first fruit from each plant is always the biggest and often the most off-shaped, although extremely tasty! From this point on, harvesting takes place daily, although quantities and sizes vary based on the plant life-cycle and the stage of planting in the staggered planting system.