Fertilizers For Strawberries
Strawberries might be one of the most resilient plants you know. But just like any other fruits out there, they need a certain level of planning and care to do well and give you a bountiful harvest. Starting with the fact that they have a shallow root system, you need the right medium and timing to plant and fertilize your strawberries.
Most of the farmers will definitely go for the June-bearing strawberries; which are the most common type of berries. But, despite the type one chooses to grow, the key to a plentiful harvest of strawberries is knowing the needs of your plants.
In that; you should know the best organic fertilizers as well as the best location with rich and fertile soil for your strawberries.
A Healthy Strawberry Plant
And for that reason, this article aims at giving you a comprehensive outline of the best organic fertilizers for strawberries.
More to that, inclusive will be the best places to grow your strawberries, the best soil for growing strawberries, the best strawberries to grow and the best strawberries variety for the home garden.
All this will be aimed at giving you a better understanding of the topic in discussion.
The Best Organic Fertilizers
Out of all the fruits which are grown in the home garden, I must say that strawberries are a favorite among most people.
They give us that luscious, sweet-red invitation to the summer. And that is why to get the best out of your berries; you need to find the right conditions for them. This is because they are more susceptible to stress and shock under adverse conditions.
To start with, there are many varieties of fertilizers to choose from; whether you are a conventional or an organic gardener. However, all the fertilizers meant for strawberries work towards replenishing either the nitrogen, phosphorous or the potassium content in the soil.
The fertilizers add these vital nutrients in order to increase the overall health of your berries.
When you go for the organic fertilizers especially, they are generally more affordable than the chemical-filled commercial ones. And the best part is that; as the gardener, you have the chance to tweak around with the ingredients depending on the specific needs of your strawberries.
Organic fertilizers are rich and have that natural blend that strawberries love. This soil amendment is made entirely by nature using some of the decomposing plant materials, grass drippings and kitchen vegetable waste like apple peels and discarded outer leaves from lettuce.
Besides that, the organic fertilizers might be made from fermented chicken drippings and molasses which are then stabilized through drying. Organic fertilizers might not be a quick fix like the chemical ones.
And that is why, with the organics, you have to let the heat, moisture and the beneficial microbes to facilitate the breakdown of the plant materials.
As the worms chew their way through the pile, they leave behind casings and droppings which add some rich nutrients to the soil. This process is slow meaning that the nutrients will be used up slowly in your garden over the years while feeding as well as conditioning the soil.
The organic fertilizer can either be used as the basic fertilization just before planting. Also, it can be used to add fertilization to the strawberries during the growing season. This is because the organic manure contains the essential nutrients and elements needed for fruit production and plant growth too.
Types of Organic Fertilizers
There are different types of organic fertilizers that you can choose from. But the question is; which one of them is the best organic fertilizer for strawberries?
We have all-purpose chemical-based fertilizers, but this might not be the case in the organic gardening.
That means that the materials you need to make the fertilizers at the end of the day depend on your garden and soil too.
Some of the conventional organic fertilizers suitable for strawberries include;
⦁ The Plant-based fertilizers
⦁ Fish waste fertilizers
⦁ Manure and
⦁ Fertilizer teas
⦁ Plant-Based Fertilizers
Although the plant-based fertilizers may break down faster than the animal based ones, they offer more regarding soil conditioning. The homemade plant-based fertilizers can be made from seaweed, comfrey, chamomile and nettle among other plants.
All these ingredients contain a certain level of nutrients which is a source of nourishment to the soil and the strawberries in general.
Plant-based Fertilizers for Strawberries
Seaweed contains a compound known as mannitol which increases the soil’s ability to absorb nutrients. The seaweed in the plant-based fertilizers can be either fresh or dried.
However, if you are using the fresh seaweed, it’s vital that you give it a thorough wash with lukewarm water before using it.
You should then let the seaweed soak in lukewarm water for about three weeks before transferring the liquid to a sprayer. The liquid seaweed fertilizer is then used as the perfect organic foliar spray for the strawberries.
Also, there is the alfalfa and the compost which improves the soil drainage and the moisture retention of the soil.
Other plant-based fertilizers include;
⦁ Legume cover crops
⦁ Cottonseed meal
⦁ Fish Waste Fertilizers
The emulsion extracted from fish is rich in nitrogen. For that reason, when used as an organic fertilizer, the fish emulsion helps the strawberry plants with the pale green leaves as well as poor growth.
The fish emulsion organic fertilizer consists of fish waste and water which is then left to rot for several weeks.
This emulsion is then sprayed to the soil around the strawberry plants at specific intervals. The nitrogen content in the fertilizers is an excellent addition about a month after planting and late in the growing season.
Most of the animal-based organic fertilizers like the manure and bone meal improve on the nitrogen level in the soil. This means that manure is best for the growth of the leafy plants and the steady growth of plants in the early gardening weeks.
However, the other contents like phosphorus and potassium majorly depend on the specific type of manure used.
A Young and Healthy Strawberry Plant with Enough Nitrogen in the Early Gardening Weeks
For instance, considering a few cases; cow manure has an NPK level of 0.6, 0.4 and 0.5 while others like poultry manure and rabbit manure have an NPK level of 0.9, 0.5, 0.5 and 2.4, 1.4,0.6 respectively.
You can use either of the manure mentioned above in the first year of planting. But no matter your choice, you should ensure that is fully composted, not fresh.
Compost manure unlike fresh manure releases nutrients and adds beneficial organic matter to the soil gradually.
Fresh manure is likely to lead to a build-up of salt to the soil hence leading to the damage of strawberry plants.
⦁ Fertilizer Teas
When it comes to the organic fertilizers, gardeners will always go for what they can make themselves at home.
And for that reason, we have the fertilizer teas which contain well-aged compost and organic compost.
To prepare the fertilizer teas, gardeners brew the organic compost, well-aged manure, and water into a large container.
The mixture is then left for about ten days then transferred to a sprayer. The fertilizer tea achieves a tea color after being entirely brewed. You should then cover your strawberry plants entirely with this liquid for ultimate results.
How to Care for your Strawberries
If you are a gardener, you will agree with me that strawberries are one of the most rewarding fruits. Strawberry plants will produce ripe berries for a couple of years reliably without needing any replacement.
However, to fully maximize your strawberry plants, there are a few things that you should pay attention to.
This includes; proper care of the plants, the right selection of the berries type, proper site selection as well as maintenance.
And for that reason, below will be a few tips on how to grow some great strawberries in your garden.
Best Strawberry Variety to Grow
The first step to a better strawberry garden is planting the right variety of strawberries for your needs. There are a whole lot of strawberries that you can choose from. And what you should know is that; not all the strawberries produce those large berries you will find in the grocery stores.
The berries differ depending on the type of strawberries one plants. Below are the various varieties of strawberries;
⦁ The Alpine/Everbearing strawberries; this type of berries produce smaller fruits, but they are the best type if you want to do container gardening. Generally, they have a smaller variety than the other kinds of strawberries
⦁ June-bearing Strawberries; this type of berries is one of the most popular strawberries. They have the largest fruit and are most of the commercially available cultivars. However, they tend to produce just one large crop before they set-in for summer. This is the type of berries we mostly see in the produce section of the grocery stores.
⦁ Day-neutral strawberries; this type of berries produce fruits continually during the growing season. The best part about having this type of berries in your garden is that you will never miss one or two ripe berries. However, you will never get a bountiful harvest of them. This makes them the best strawberries variety for the home garden.
‘A well-fertilized Strawberry Plant is Very Rewarding’
When you decide the best strawberries variety to grow, there are a few other things that you should consider to achieve the best results.
Advisably, you should buy the strawberries plants offered at your local nursery because they will be suitable for the soil and climatic conditions of your area. And this introduces us to the other primary concern which is the best location for growing your strawberries.
The Best Place to Grow Strawberries
When it comes to planting the strawberries plants, I must say that they are quite adaptable. Actually, most people prefer to grow them directly to the ground if they have enough garden space.
All in all, others still prefer the container gardening especially if there is not enough sunlight in their backyard.
But what you should know is; if you plan to grow your plants directly to the ground, you will probably leave them there undisturbed for a few years.
That means you will have to invest in choosing the right spot. Go for a place that one, you will not need to reuse for quite some time.
For optimum harvest, you should choose a location that provides an optimum condition for the strawberries too. This will definitely increase the growth rate of the plants and the yield during the harvesting season.
⦁ The planting site you select should at least be near a reliable water source. This is because the best soil for strawberries to thrive in moist soil. The fact that the plants are quite fuzzy, they need plenty of water to do well.
⦁ More to that, you should choose a planting site that receives at least 6 or more hours of natural sunlight a day.
⦁ Also, avoid planting your strawberries in the same garden beds where you grew pepper or tomatoes. This is because these tow vegetable contain what we call the verticillium wilt. This type of diseases is likely to either kill or damage the strawberry plants.
The Best Flexible Ways of Planting Strawberries
At times, you may want to grow some tremendous organic strawberries, but you are late in the season. To recap and get the same kind of harvest like the person who planted in good time; here are a few things that you need to observe.
Hanging Baskets and Container-gardening is the ‘Best Flexible Strawberry Planting Method’
⦁ Go for the everbearing or the day-neutral strawberries. This is because they have a more extended harvest period. The day-neutrals could have produce that lasts up to October.
⦁ Plant the strawberries in containers or the hanging baskets. This is because; they can be moved from the backyard in case of intense summer heat. Also, you have a better chance to tend and water them.
⦁ Plant your strawberries in the greenhouse. Here you can control the environment as well as the micro-ecological system artificially. This means that you can control the temperature, pests, water, wind as well as humidity. Therefore, you could grow your strawberries all year round despite the season if you wish.