(Fragaria sp.) is a native of temperate regions, but varieties are available which
can be cultivated in subtropical climate. In India it is generally cultivated in the
hills. Its main center of cultivation are Nainital (district) and Dehradun in Uttar
Pradesh, Mahabaleshwar (Maharashtra), Kashmir Valley, Bangalore and Kalimpong (West
Bengal). In recent years, strawberry is being cultivated successfully in plains of
Maharashtra around Pune, Nashik and Sangali towns. The strawberry is the most widely
adapted of the small fruits. Strawberries are grown throughout Europe, in every state of
the United States, as well as in Canada and South America. The wide variation in climates
within these regions and the wide adaptation of the strawberry plant permit harvesting and
marketing, the fruit during greater part of the year.
Strawberry is a delicious fruit taken fresh in several ways. It also makes
excellent ice cream and Jam on account of its rich aroma, and is also a good source of
vitamin C. It is a soft and a highly perishable fruit, often shipped in frozen condition
in Western countries.
Climate and Soil:
thrives best in temperate climate. It is a short day plant, which requires exposure to
about 10 days of less than 8 hours sunshine for initiation of flowering. In winter, the
plants do not make any growth and remain dormant. The exposure to low temperature during
this period helps in breaking dormancy of the plant. In spring when the days become longer
and the temperature rises. The plants resume growth and begin flowering. The varieties
grown in milder subtropical climate do not require chilling and continue to make some
growth during winter.
From the standpoint of response to length of the light period, strawberries are
placed in two groups: (1) varieties that develop flower buds during both long and short
light periods, the overbearing varieties and (2) varieties that develop flower buds during
the short light periods only, most commercial varieties.
Strawberry requires a well-drained medium loam soil, rich in organic matter. The
soil should be slightly acidic with pH from 5.7 to 6.5. At higher pH root formation is
poor. The presence of excessive calcium in the soil causes yellowing of the leaves. In
light soils and in those rich in organic matter, runner formation is better. Strawberry
should not be cultivated in the same land for a number of years. It is preferable to plant
it in green manured field. Alkaline soils and soils infected with nematodes should be
large number of varieties are available. For the hilly areas, varieties Royal Sovereign,
Srinagar and Dilpasand are suitable. Some of the introductions from California, such as
Torrey, Toiga and Solana may prove even more successful. The variety found successful in
Bangalore has been named Bangalore and which has performed well at Mahabaleshwar also. For
the north Indian plains, Pusa Early Dwarf which has dwarf plants, large firm wedge-shaped
fruits, has been recommended. Another variety with rich aroma but softer fruits is Katrain
Sweet. Some of the varieties found successful in warmer parts of the U.S.A. are: Premier
Florida-90, Missionary, Blackmore, Klonmore & Klondike. Some of these may prove
successful for cultivation in Indian plains.
is done by means of runners that are formed after the blooming season. The plants may be
allowed to set as many runners as possible but not allowed to set any fruits. All the
plants with good root system should be utilised to set a new plantation. Given the best
attention and care, a single plant usually produces 12 to 18 runners.
land for strawberry planting should be thoroughly prepared by deep ploughing followed by
harrowing. Liberal quantities of organic manure should be incorporated in the soil before
plating. Strawberry can be planted on flat beds, in the form of hill rows or matted rows,
or it can be planted on raised beds. In irrigated areas, plantings on ridges is advised.
In Mahabaleshwar, the usual practice is to plant on raised beds 4 x 3 meters or 4 x 4
meters. The planting distance should be 45 cm from plant to plant and 60 to 75 cm. from
row to row. In the hills, Transplanting is done in March-April, September-October, but in
the plains, the months of January-February may be utilised for this purpose. At
Mahabaleshwar normally strawberry is planted during November-December.
The plants should be set in the soil with their roots going straight down. The
soil around the plant should be firmly packed to exclude air. The growing point of the
plant should be just above the soil surface. During planting, the plants should not be
allowed to dry out and should be irrigated immediately after planting.
|Care of young Plantation
roots of strawberry plants spread out close to the surface. Therefore, the soil should be
well supplied with moisture, and hoeing should be done lightly and young plantation be
kept weed free.
|Special Horticultural practices
cold climate the soil is covered with a mulch in winter to protect the roots from cold
injury. The mulch keeps the fruits free from soil, reduces decay of fruits, conserves soil
moisture, lowers soil temperature in hot weather, protects flowers from frost in mild
climates and protects plants from freezing injury in cold climates. Several kinds of
mulches are used, but the commonest one is straw mulch. The name strawberry has been
derived from this fact. Black alkathine mulch is also used to cover the soil. It saves
irrigation water, prevents the growth of weeds and keep the soil temperature high.
strawberry is relatively shallow-rooted, it is susceptible to conditions of drought.
Planting early in autumn allows the plants to make good vegetative growth before the onset
of winter. However, in this case it is necessary to ensure that newly planted runners are
irrigated frequently after planting, otherwise the mortality of the plants becomes high.
During September and October, irrigation should be given twice a week if there is no rain.
It may be reduced to weekly intervals during November. In December and January, irrigation
may be given once every fortnight. When fruiting starts, the irrigation frequency may
should again be increased. At this stage frequent irrigation gives larger fruits.
of manures and fertilisers
requires moderate amounts of nitrogen. Addition of organic matter to the soil, in the form
of 50 tons of Farm Yard manure per hectare is highly desirable. It improves the water
holding capacity of the soil and also gives better runner formation. Farm yard manure may
be supplemented by chemical fertilizers to make up the total quantity of nitrogen from 84
to 112 kg per hectare, Phosphorus 56 to 84 kg per hectare, and Potash 56 to 112 kg per
hectare. The Phosphatic fertilizer should be incorporated into the soil before plantings.
The nitrogenous fertilizer be applied in Two doses (Three weeks after planting and again
at the time of flowering) and potash at the time of flowering only. Application of
adequate amounts of nitrogen gives higher yield of early berries.
spider mites and cutworms are important pests of strawberry. The mites can be controlled
with 0.05 per cent Monocrotophos + 0.25 per cent wetable sulphur. The cut worms can be
controlled by dusting the soil before planting with 5 per cent chloradane or Heptachlor
dust at the rate of 50 kg per hectare and mixing it thoroughly in the soil by cultivator.
The two commonest diseases of strawberry are red stele, caused by the fungus Phytophthora
fragariae and black root rot. The remedy for the former lies by growing resistant
varieties like stelemaster and for the latter to maintain the vigour of the plants and
rotate strawberry with other crops like legume vegetables (beans, peas etc). Strawberry
also suffers from virus diseases known as yellow edge, crinkle and dwarf. Raising of
strawberry nursery in the hills helps to check these. Strawberry also throws some
chlorotic plants, which result from genetic segregation. These should not be confused with
virus affected plants and should be rogued out.
fruit ripens during late February to April in the plains and during May and June at high
elevations like Mahabaleshwar, Nainital and Kashmir. For local market the fruit should be
harvested when fully ripe, but for transport to distant markets, it should be harvested
when still firm and before colour has developed fully all over the fruit. Harvesting
should be done preferably daily. Since fruit is highly perishable, it is packed in flat
shallow containers of various types (cardboard, bamboo, paper trays etc.) with one or two
layers of fruits. Harvesting should be done early in the morning in dry conditions.
Washing the fruit bruises it and spoils its lustre.
The yield varies according to season and locality. A yield of 20 to 25 tons per
hectare is excellent, though yields upto 50 tons per hectare have been reported under
Harvest handling and Marketing
are highly perishable and hence a great deal of care in harvesting and handling as well as
its marketing also requires to be organised carefully. Usually the fruit is picked in the
early morning and sent to the market in the afternoon of the same day or is picked in the
late afternoon, stored overnight in a cool place, and sent to market the following