How To Cultivate Strawberries
These are fruits that sre in a class by themselves, both as regards cultivation and value. There is no comparison between the strawberries one gathers fresh from the garden, and the fruits that are purchased in the shops.
Probably strawberries would be grown more than they are in small gardens if it were not that they take a good deal of space, and also demand some attention on the part of the gardener. Their cultivation is comparatively simple, and could be undertaken by any novice.
New plants are generally purchased in September, or in March. Plant them 18 inches apart in rows 2i feet asunder. Mulch them with manure in March each year, and spread straw over the soil surface round each plant in May to protect the fruit from the soil during wet weather.
As runners appear they will for the most part be removed, aa they merely weaken the plants. Strawberries deteriorate after the second year, however, and new plantations must be formed at least every three years. It is therefore necessary from time to time to allow some runners to develop and root so that they can replace the older plants.
Only one runner should be allowed to develop, and more appearing on the same stem should be cut off. It is a good praetice to allow sufficient runners to root to renew one-third of the plantation each year, as in this way there are always some strawberries cropping well.
In addition to the annual mulch of stable manure, an autumn dressing of fertilizer will assist the plants. For this an ounce of sulphate of potash and two ounces super-phosphate should be used per square yard. A little nitrate of soda may also be applied immediately after the fruit has set.
It is not necessary to dig between the rows of strawberries during the three years that they are in position, but weeds should be kept down by constant hoeing.
Some of the best varieties of strawberries for the amateur are as follows!
Sir Joseph Paxton