The taste and smell of fresh ripe strawberries is very distinctive. They can, however, be quite difficult to grow organically. There are many insects, birds and pests which also quite love the taste of strawberries, and strawberry plants can be quite prone to a variety of diseases. Although it is trickier to grow strawberries organically, it is far from impossible. Below are a 5 great tips you can follow, which have proven successful in growing strawberries organically.
1: Soil preparation
Find an area in your garden that receives approximately 8 to 10 hours of strong sunlight each day. Check that the soil is well-drained, and better yet, check the PH level of the soil. A PH level of around 6.0 to 6.2 is the most ideal PH level for growing strawberries. Weed the area completely and turn over the soil.
The best time to plant fresh strawberries depends upon the climate you live in. In general however, the best time to plant is during the early spring season, or if you live in a warm winder climate, then Autumn/Fall season is best. Create raised soil beds which are approximately 18 to 24 inches apart, in rows which are 3 to 4 feet apart.
Make sure to water the plant around 1 inch per week, watering at the root bed.
Strawberries fair best with a soluble organic fertilizer, such as a fish-seaweed blend. When you fertilize early, it helps to make the berries soft.
5: Pest and mold reduction
There are a variety of pests which enjoy eating strawberry plants. It is important to carry out a regular check on your plants in order to catch the pests before an infestation takes hold. Common strawberry insect pests include mites, caterpillars, slugs and snails, birds, grubs and bugs. The best way to cut down this problem organically is to build a control net over the strawberry plants. A control net/mesh will cover the plants, reducing the amount of pests which can attack them. As for mold, there are a variety of organic sprays which can help, such as a seaweed spray which can be bought at most gardening centers.
If you are diligent and keep a watchful eye on pests and mold, then you can enjoy some of the sweetest and most natural strawberries available when they ripen. Ripe strawberries normally appear 30 days after blooming. Once the berry is quite red, then let your senses be the guide. The strawberries should emit a very distinctive and delicious scent, and of course they should taste sweet. Pick the ripe strawberries approximately every 2 to 3 days, or daily, if the weather is particularly hot. Make sure you store the picked strawberries in much the same way a store would in their fresh produce displays. Your local store strawberry food display will most likely display the strawberries on a paper or polystyrene base within a cooled refrigerated zone. Do the same in order to keep your strawberries in peak condition for several days.
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Fresh product displays are essential for the sale of every fruit, including strawberries, which may require a few more arrangements to ensure they are of the purest form, like pest elimination, water supply, organic fertilizer etc. To get the list of requirements to grow a perfect strawberry produce, click here.
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