|Fragaria × ananassa subsp. var.||Strawberry, Garden strawberry|
The garden strawberry is a common plant of the genus Fragaria cultivated worldwide for its aggregate accesory fruit, the (common) strawberry. The fruit is widely appreciated, mainly for its characteristic aroma but also for its bright red color, and it is consumed in large quantities, either fresh or in prepared foods such as preserves, fruit juice, pies, ice creams, and milk shakes.
The garden strawberry was first bred in Brittany, France, in 1740 via a cross of Fragaria virginiana from eastern North America , which was noted for its flavor, and Fragaria chiloensis from Chile and Argentina brought by Amédée-François Frézier, which was noted for its large size.
Strawberry cultivars vary remarkably in size, color, flavor, shape, degree of fertility, season of ripening, liability to disease and constitution of plant. Some vary in foliage, and some vary materially in the relative development of their sexual organs. In most cases the flowers appear hermaphroditic in structure, but function as either male or female.
For purposes of commercial production, plants are propagated from runners and, in general, distributed as either bare root plants or plugs. Cultivation follows one of two general models, annual plasticulture or a perennial system of matted rows or mounds. A small amount of strawberries are also produced in greenhouses during the off season.
Strawberries are an easy plant to grow, and can be grown almost anywhere in the world. The best thing to do is to buy a plant in early to middle spring. Place the plant preferably in full sun, and in somewhat sandy soil. Strawberries are a strong plant that will survive many conditions, but, during the time that the plant is forming fruit, it is important for it to get enough water. Strawberries can also be grown as a potted plant, and will still produce fruit.plasticulture system. In this method, raised beds are formed each year, fumigated, and covered with plastic to prevent weed growth and erosion. Plants, usually obtained from northern nurseries, are planted through holes punched in this covering, and irrigation tubing is run underneath. Runners are removed from the plants as they appear, to encourage the plants to put most of their energy into fruit development. At the end of the harvest season, the plastic is removed and the plants are plowed into the ground. Because strawberry plants more than a year or two old begin to decline in productivity and fruit quality, this system of replacing the plants each year allows for improved yields and denser plantings. However, because it requires a longer growing season to allow for establishment of the plants each year, and because of the increased costs in terms of forming and covering the mounds and purchasing plants each year, it is not always practical in all areas.
The other major method, which uses the same plants from year to year growing in rows or on mounds, is most common in colder climates. It has lower investment costs, and lower overall maintenance requirements. Yields are typically lower than in plasticulture.
A third method, uses a compost sock. Plants grown in compost socks have been shown to produce significantly higher oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), flavonoids, anthocyanins, fructose, glucose, sucrose, malic acid, and citric acid than fruit produced in the black plastic mulch or matted row systems. Similar results in an earlier 2003 study conducted by the US Dept of Agriculture, at the Agricultural Research Service, in Beltsville Maryland, confirms how compost plays a role in the bioactive qualities of two strawberry cultivars.
Strawberries can also be grown indoors in strawberry pots.
A strawberry plant will send out shoots in an attempt to propagate a new plant, and, if left alone, it will be successful in doing so, but this shoot can be cut off, and placed wherever you wish to start a new plant.
Strawberries may also be propagated by seed, though this is primarily a hobby activity, and is not widely practiced commercially. A few seed-propagated cultivars have been developed for home use, and research into growing from seed commercially is ongoing. Seeds (achenes) are acquired either via commercial seed suppliers, or by collecting and saving them from the fruit.
Pests and diseases
Around 200 species of pests are known to attack strawberries both directly and indirectly. These pests include slugs, moths, fruit flies, chafers, strawberry root weevils, strawberry thrips, strawberry sap beetles, strawberry crown moth, mites, aphids, and others.
Strawberry plants can fall victim to a number of diseases. The leaves may be attacked by powdery mildew, leaf spot (caused by the fungus Sphaerella fragariae), leaf blight (caused by the fungus Phomopsis obscurans), and by a variety of slime molds. The crown and roots may fall victim to red stele, verticillium wilt, black root rot, and nematodes. The fruits are subject to damage from gray mold, rhizopus rot, and leather rot. The plants can also develop disease from temperature extremes during winter. When watering your strawberries, be sure to water only the roots and not the leaves, as moisture on the leaves encourages growth of fungus. Ensure that the strawberries are placed in a windy area to prevent the fungus from occurring.
Strawberries are often grouped according to their flowering habit. Traditionally, this has consisted of a division between "June-bearing" strawberries, which bear their fruit in the early summer and "ever-bearing" strawberries, which often bear several crops of fruit throughout the season. Research has shown recently that strawberries actually occur in three basic flowering habits: short-day, long-day, and day-neutral. These refer to the day-length sensitivity of the plant and the type of photoperiod that induces flower formation. Day-neutral cultivars produce flowers regardless of the photoperiod.
- ↑ "Strawberry, The Maiden With Runners". Botgard.ucla.edu. Retrieved on 2009-12-05.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "G6135 Home Fruit Production: Strawberry Cultivars and Their Culture | University of Missouri Extension". Extension.missouri.edu. Retrieved on 2009-12-05.
- ↑ Strawberry Growing, Stevenson Whitcomb Fletcher, The Macmillan Co., New York, 1917. http://books.google.com/books?id=uQA2AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA127&lpg=PA127&dq=strawberry+hermaphrodite&source=bl&ots=3LwJQvTZnr&sig=CHAv8CX22dgBJkMEXUg8Kr8kfYw&hl=en&ei=PagASrWaIIvAM6Wd1d4H&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3#PPR3,M1
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Strawberry Plasticulture Offers Sweet Rewards". Ag.ohio-state.edu (2002-06-28). Retrieved on 2009-12-05.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 http://www.newenglandvfc.org/pdf_proceedings/StawberryProduction.pdf
- ↑ "Pritts Greenhouse Berried Treasures". Hort.cornell.edu. Retrieved on 2009-12-05.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Strawberry Fields Forever". Noble.org. Retrieved on 2009-12-05.
- ↑ Wang SW., Millner P. (November 2009). "Effect of Different Cultural Systems on Antioxidant Capacity, Phenolic Content, and Fruit Quality of Strawberries (Fragaria × aranassa Duch.)". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (ACS Publications) 57 (20): 9651–9657. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf9020575.
- ↑ Wang SY, Lin HS (November 2003). "Compost as a soil supplement increases the level of antioxidant compounds and oxygen radical absorbance capacity in strawberries". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 51 (23): 6844–50. doi:10.1021/jf030196x. PMID 14582984.
- ↑ "Journal Article". SpringerLink. Retrieved on 2009-12-05.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 "Insect Pests of Strawberries and Their Management". Virginiafruit.ento.vt.edu (2000-05-03). Retrieved on 2009-12-05.
- ↑ "Radcliffe's IPM World Textbook | CFANS | University of Minnesota". Ipmworld.umn.edu (2009-11-20). Retrieved on 2009-12-05.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 "Strawberry Diseases". Extension.umn.edu. Retrieved on 2009-12-05.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 "Proper Cultivation Yields Strawberry Fields Forever". Larrysagers.com (1992-04-15). Retrieved on 2009-12-05.
- ↑ S. C. Hokanson, J. L. Maas, 2001. Strawberry biotechnology, Plant Breeding Reviews 21:139–179