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Gardening Information Articles
Saturday, May 25, 2013
have started to arrive in garden centres through out New Zealand, a little later than normal because of the mild, dry autumn.
They are a woodland plant from Europe and North America. One of the keys to their successful growing is to realise that they are woodland plants and should, if possible, be given woodland conditions.
There is a great number of strawberry cultivars in New Zealand and only a few of these are generally available to the home gardener. You are likely to find the following types:
PAJARO Would likely be the most common type available now days, it is a ‘Short day’ type that has
consistently very large berries with bright red skin and light red flesh. Exceptionally firm. Excellent flavour when picked fully ripe but can be insipid when picked under-ripe. Early if not deflowered. Average yields, but exceptional quality results in high export grade out. Produces well before Xmas and again in late summer/autumn. Suitable in northern and central areas.
Older types such as Tioga and Red Gauntlet are sometimes still available but have been superseded by new cultivars by most commercial growers.
APTOS is a Day neutral (Means it will fruit off and on from spring to autumn) Berries are bright, dark red. Goes very dark as it becomes over-ripe. Size medium to large. Plants shows Potassium deficiency symptoms, especially late season, showing up as purple margins on leaves. Large fruit number per truss with last fruit tending to be very small. Flavour good but can be slightly astringent in some conditions. Slightly soft. Excellent yield. Deficiencies: Softness. Small size on lower parts of trusses. Dark colour and occasional poor flavour. Ensure that the plants are given a sprinkling of potash each month through growing season. District suitability: Central and Southern New Zealand.
Ensure good plant size before allowing flowers to form fruit to minimise small size tendency. Maintain good potassium levels late in the season. Difficult to produce quality fruit on second year plants. Sensitive to mite attack. (Spray with Liquid Sulphur if mites appear)
CHANDLER, Short day type, medium red fruit but not as bright as Pajaro. Flesh light red. Size varies from very large to small. Firm but softer than Pajaro. Flavour very good. Produces a multi crowned plant quickly. More resistant to wet weather than Pajaro. More susceptible to botrytis than Pajaro. Yield is very good. Deficiencies: More inconsistent appearance compared with Pajaro. Tendency to produce large quantities of small fruit later in season. District Suitability: Northern and Central New Zealand.
SEASCAPE, Day neutral. Parentage: Selva x Douglas. Fruit is moderate-dark red, attractive and glossy. Size is moderate-large. Good flavour. Firm. Shape conic. Moderately strong, upright plant. Has some susceptibility to botrytis in wet seasons. Tendency to produce misshapen fruit in cool temperatures. Deficiencies: Susceptible to botrytis, misshapen fruit.
District Suitability: Appears suitable for all parts of New Zealand. Does not appear to need deflowering. Medium plant spacing.
If you have a choice when buying fresh plants go for some short day and some day neutral as this will give you a longer, consistent, picking period.
When preparing a new bed for strawberries incorporate an animal manure based compost and untreated sawdust into the soil. If you have leaf mold that should also be used. For the extra elements use potash, Ocean Solids and Rok Solid. If you like to grow on mounds do so and either use weedmat or straw to reduce weed competition.
There is one product that will increase your crop yield by 200 to 400% and that is Mycorrcin.
Drench the soil with the product after planting out and then spray the plants every 2 weeks with the same. Mycorrcin feeds the soil life and in doing so builds up the beneficial soil food web, increases the plant’s yield and reduces disease problems.
A good number of gardeners that have used Mycorrcin on their strawberries and contacted the writer because of the great results they have had.
Last season, one gardener told me, that he placed two strawberry beds, side by side. Both beds had the same variety of strawberries and were treated exactly the same except one bed had a 2-weekly spray of Mycorrcin.
The gardener said the difference was truly amazing. The untreated bed produced a normal average crop of berries, where the treated bed yielded about 3 times the amount. Bigger berries, sweeter flavour and a longer harvest period. His final words were, ‘If I had not done the experiment I would not have believed the difference could be so great. From now on I will use the product on all my plantings.’
The Manufacturer of the product told me a story that a commercial grower used the product on his plots but misread the instructions and gave the plants double the recommended dosage each spray.
He complained that the berries were so much bigger than normal, he had to change the packaging for sale!
Mycorrcin can be used to advantage on any other plants and the soil they grow in, to obtain better plants with less disease problems.
Strawberry varieties that are prone to botrytis and dry berry (Downy Mildew) should be given a monthly spray of Perkfection which can be mixed with the Mycorrcin.
Birds can be a problem when berries are ripening and you need to protect the bed with either bird netting or Bird Repeller Ribbon.
Gardeners with existing strawberry beds will likely have a number of runners that have now rooted into the surrounding soil. The runners can be cut and the rooted plants lifted to place in a new bed.
Minerals play a big part in obtaining healthy plants and the soil they grow in. This is extended to our own health by consuming home grown produce grown in mineral rich soil. The minerals are not in the soil unless you put them there by using the likes of yearly applications of Ocean Solids, Rok Solid and more frequent applications of Magic Botanic Liquid.(MBL)
I am convinced that those trace elements derived from these products make a big difference.
Strawberries are easy to grow and great to eat, so visit your local garden centre for some plants soon.
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