Features of the cultivation and care of Gigantella strawberries
Sweet strawberries are a favorite delicacy of most adults and children, so many gardeners grow it in their suburban areas. One of the best varieties of this culture is Gigantella, which combines excellent taste, large berries and unpretentiousness to climate conditions.
This article provides a detailed description of Gigantella strawberries, lists the main pros and cons of the variety, the rules for planting it and recommendations for caring for the bushes, and describes methods to combat possible diseases and pests.
Breeding History and Breeding Region
Gigantella variety was bred in Holland at the beginning of the XXI century and is the result of crossing large-fruited strawberry hybrids. Amateur breeders who wanted to create a new type of this crop with large, sweet berries and relatively early ripening time worked to obtain the variety.
Description and characteristics of the variety
A characteristic feature that distinguishes this variety from other varieties of strawberries is the large size of ripe berries and their excellent taste characteristics. In addition, subject to the recommended techniques of agricultural technology, strawberry Gigantella gives a plentiful harvest and tolerates wintering.
Due to all these qualities, this variety belongs to the elite and is grown not only in small areas for personal needs, but also on an industrial scale. A detailed description of the Gigantella is later in the article.
Read also our e-magazine on strawberry cultivation.
Appearance of Strawberry Gigantella
Plants of this variety grow quickly, so in a short time they reach large sizes and immediately become noticeable in the garden. The fruits look very appetizing, and the largest of them can have the size of a small apple.
A detailed description of the appearance of the Gigantella variety is presented below:
- The strawberry bush can reach a height of 50 cm. The aerial part of the plant is massive, and its diameter is up to 60 cm.
- The leaves are large and corrugated, painted in saturated green. From the second year of cultivation, light red stains appear on them.
- The flowering period falls on the first half of May. On each bush, up to 30 peduncles are formed. Each of them contains 6–8 large white flowers, of which ovaries form after flowering.
- The berries are large and oval in shape, and their sides are slightly flattened. The mass of each fruit at the first harvest can be up to 120 g, and the diameter up to 9 cm. Subsequently, strawberries weighing about 60 g are removed from the bushes.
- The peel of ripe fruits is dense and rough, painted in dark red color. On its surface are convex large seeds of white or yellow color.
- The strawberry pulp is very juicy and has a dense structure. It is painted in a matte red color and tastes like a sweet pineapple, exuding a characteristic strawberry flavor.
This variety is high-yielding, but for the formation and ripening of a large number of berries, bushes need care. In terms of ripening, Gigantella belongs to mid-season, and the exact time of appearance of the first ripened berries depends on the climatic conditions of a particular region.
Important! To increase the yield of the variety, it is recommended to periodically remove part of the shoots and mustaches of strawberries - thanks to this, the bush will spend all its energy on the formation and ripening of berries.
The main characteristics of the yield and fruiting of this crop are listed below:
- from each bush you can collect from 1.5 to 3 kg of sweet berries;
- the largest fruits are formed in the first year of cultivation, and then the strawberries are slightly finer;
- berries can be harvested in the first half of June, and in regions with a cool climate, the fruits ripen in early July;
- the fruits ripen in batches, so they are removed from the bushes in several approaches, and at the end of July the fruiting of the plant is completely completed;
- when growing strawberries in the same area, the fruiting period lasts up to 7–8 years.
Strawberry Gigantella acquired the ability to self-pollination from parental varieties, so it does not need pollinators. This quality makes it possible to grow varieties on an industrial scale, since pollen is transferred from male flowers to female by wind.
When growing in small suburban areas, you can additionally pollinate plants manually using a brush. Experienced gardeners note that this procedure helps to increase crop yields by 25-30%.
Read more about strawberry pollination at home.
Advantages and disadvantages
The popularity of the Gigantella variety among gardeners in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus is due to the many positive qualities of strawberries, which distinguish it from other varieties of this crop.
- The main advantages of the Gigantella are such qualities:
- high productivity;
- early ripening;
- large size of berries;
- high frost resistance;
- excellent taste characteristics of fruits;
- good storage and transportability;
- long fruiting period;
- unpretentiousness to climate conditions;
- universality of the use of the crop - berries can be consumed fresh and frozen, as well as canned preserves made from them.
Important! In addition to numerous advantages, strawberries Gigantella has significant disadvantages.
- These include the following qualities: s
- large plants occupy a lot of space in the beds;
- the culture needs careful care and proper watering;
- plants have a weak immunity to diseases and pests;
- the fruits of this variety become smaller starting from the second year of cultivation.
Features of cultivation and care
In order to collect a generous crop of large and sweet berries from each strawberry bush, it is necessary to create optimal conditions for plants to grow and provide the culture with thorough care.
First of all, you need to choose a suitable place for growing the Gigantella variety, because it is demanding on the presence of sunlight and soil composition.
Planting seeds should also be carried out according to certain rules, and emerging seedlings need regular watering and top dressing.
It is equally important to prepare shelter for strawberries for the winter to protect it from the negative effects of low temperatures. About the main subtleties of caring for the Gigantella variety - later in the article.
Choosing a place and planting material
When growing Gigantella strawberries, the size and number of ripe berries largely depend on where this crop was planted.
Did you know? Up to 200 seeds can be on the surface of one ripe strawberry!
That's why when choosing a place it is necessary to take into account such plant characteristics:
- the bushes need a lot of sunlight, so it is recommended to grow them in an open area from the south-west side of trees and structures;
- You can’t grow strawberries in a draft - cold air currents affect plants badly and can lead to diseases or pests;
- the plot for the bushes should be on level ground so that rain and melt water do not stagnate on the beds - under such conditions, the strawberry roots will rot;
- groundwater should be located at a considerable depth from the soil surface, so that there is no flooding of the roots of plants;
- strawberries need fertile and loose soil with a neutral level of acidity - the best option for planting plants is chernozem or loamy soil, which allows water and air to pass through well;
- The best predecessors for strawberries are legumes, carrots, corn, garlic and celery, and it is not recommended to grow Gigantella after potatoes, eggplant, cabbage and tomatoes.
Like any other strawberry variety, Gigantella can be grown from seeds and seedlings. The first method is more time-consuming and consists in pre-growing seedlings with further transplanting of young seedlings into open ground.
The cultivation of strawberry seedlings of this variety begins with the sowing of seeds in individual plastic cups and is carried out in early March.
Did you know? Most strawberries are grown in California (USA) - about 1 million tons of ripe berries are harvested here annually.
Step-by-step instructions for conducting this procedure are presented below:
- Prepare a mixture of humus and sand, mixing them in a ratio of 5: 3. Preheat it in the oven at a temperature of + 100 ° C.
- Fill individual plastic cups with prepared soil. Tamp the surface of the soil, and then water it.
- Deepen the purchased seeds into the ground by 1-2 cm. Put the containers in a cool place with an air temperature of about 0 ... + 5 ° C for 5 days.
- Move the cups with seedlings to a warm room with an air temperature of +20 ... + 24 ° С. When drying the top layer of the earth in containers, carry out moderate watering with warm water.
- After the appearance of 1 pair of leaves, seedlings are moved to a cooler room with an air temperature of +14 ... + 16 ° С. Under such conditions, the seedlings are until 5-6 leaves appear, and then the sprouts are transplanted to the site.
In order not to waste time on independent cultivation of strawberry sprouts, it is easier to buy ready-made seedlings and immediately plant them on the site.
When buying seedlings, you need to pay attention to their appearance, guided by such signs:
- Strong strawberry seedlings must have at least 6 true leaves;
- the root system of the sprout must be well developed and consist of numerous thick roots;
- in high-quality seedlings, the leaves look elastic and fresh, and there are no mechanical damage to them;
- You can not use for planting specimens with dry, rotten and damaged roots - such seedlings will not be able to take root and die.
Gigantella strawberry seedlings are recommended to be planted in open ground in early May or in August, provided there is no likelihood of night frost. The soil in the selected area must first be dug up, adding 1 bucket of humus and 1 tbsp. wood ash. During digging, it is recommended to remove Maybug larvae so that they do not eat up the roots of young bushes.
Step-by-step instructions for planting plants in open ground are presented below:
- Dig small holes in the plot, the depth of which is equal to the length of the root system of the seedling. You need to place them according to the scheme 40 × 60 cm, so that the bushes have enough space for growth. On 1 m² there should be no more than 4 plants.
- If the soil on the site is too dry, then the bottom of each hole is watered with a small amount of warm water.
- 10 minutes before planting, place the roots of seedlings in a solution of 5 l of water, 1.5 tbsp. l salt and 0.5 tsp sulphate and then rinse them under running water.
- Carefully place the roots of the strawberry seedling in the prepared recess. If the gardener grew seedlings on his own, then you need to transfer the sprout to the hole along with an earthen lump formed around the roots.
- Sprinkle the planted sprout with loose soil. Do not deepen it too much into the soil - the roots need air access.
- Water the plants so that the soil around them is well moistened. When moisture is absorbed, mulch the beds with a layer of dry straw or humus.
Important! So that the bright sun does not burn the delicate leaves of seedlings, planting is best done in the afternoon or in cloudy weather.
Watering and feeding
A key factor affecting the yield of Gigantella strawberries is regular watering. Plants need a lot of water, but waterlogging of the soil causes fungal diseases, therefore, when irrigating beds with bushes, the norm must be observed.
The basic rules for watering the crop are listed below:
- plants are irrigated about 1 time in 7 days as the top layer of the soil dries up - the soil on the beds should always be slightly moist;
- watering is carried out under the root - drops of water that fall on the leaves can cause sunburn;
- about 1 liter of water is spent on irrigation of 1 m² of plantings during the formation of ovaries, and up to 25 liters when berries are ripened;
- it is recommended to water the beds in the early morning or in the evening, so that the water is absorbed into the soil and evaporates less in the sun;
- For irrigation of strawberries, it is recommended to use warm, settled water - cold liquid negatively affects the roots and can provoke the development of rot;
- after the moisture is completely absorbed into the ground, mulch of dry straw or pine needles is laid around the plants - it helps to keep the soil moist and loose for longer.
Learn more about how to water strawberries frequently and correctly.
The basic fertilizer application rules for the Gigantella variety are listed below:
- if nutrients were added to the soil before planting seedlings, then the next time fertilizers should be applied only after a year;
- the first time strawberries are fed in the spring after the appearance of green leaves - 1 liter of urea nutrient solution is poured under each bush (1 tablespoon of the product per 10 liters of water);
- before flowering, a solution of complex mineral fertilizers (for example, "Agricola" or "Effekton-Ya") is applied under each bush, being guided by the instructions on the package;
- after harvesting, plants are fed a solution of 10 l of water, 1 tbsp. l nitrofoski, 10 g of potassium sulfate and 100 g of wood ash - 500 ml of the mixture are consumed per plant;
- in the process of building green mass, strawberries can be sprayed with a solution of Growth Stimulator “Bud”.
This variety is characterized by good frost resistance and can withstand frosts down to -25 ° C, but when grown in regions with harsh winters, plants need mandatory shelter.
It is built from improvised materials and snow, guided by the following rules:
- in autumn, around the bushes, you need to remove all weeds, and also cut off the yellowed leaves of plants;
- the soil on the beds needs to be loosened to provide air access to the roots and prevent their decay;
- They put a thick layer of mullein on the beds with plants, and then cover it with a film - such a shelter retains heat well;
- The antennae of plants are recommended to be sprinkled with earth so that they do not freeze;
- you can not pick off all the leaves of the bushes - they create an additional heat-insulating layer and protect the roots from freezing.
Giantella strawberries are recommended to be covered with the onset of the first steady frosts, and in spring the protection is removed with the beginning of active snow melting.
Read in more detail how to protect strawberries from frost.
Pest and Disease Control
Strawberry Gigantella has a weak immunity, so it is easily affected by diseases and pests. Compliance with the recommendations for caring for plants reduces the risk of infection, but the gardener still needs to periodically inspect the beds in order to notice the problem in time and begin treatment.
Plants of this variety most often suffer from such insects and infections:
- Chafer. Strawberries suffer from the attack of large white larvae of this insect. Caterpillars live underground and gnaw the root system of the plant, preferring young seedlings. As a result of this, the bushes stop growing and wither, but the ovaries do not form. To get rid of the larvae, you can dig them out of the ground manually or pour strawberries with infusion of onion husks (1 liter of husk will need 3 liters of water).
- Slug. The activity period of these pests falls at night, so it is not easy to notice their presence on the beds. Slugs damage the fruits and green mass of the bush, covering them with transparent sticky secretions. An affected plant can easily become infected with fungal infections, and bitten fruits quickly decay. Pests are collected manually or sprayed beds with a solution of "Karbofos".
- Gray rot. A sign of the disease is a gray coating on the surface of the berries. In the future, the fruits decay, and the spores of the fungus spread to other plants using the wind. Ill bushes cannot be cured, so they are immediately removed from the site and destroyed. After this, the beds are treated with the Chorus preparation according to the instructions on the package.
- Root rot. The infection affects the roots of strawberries, covering them with black spots. The affected areas increase in size and eventually spread to the stem and leaves, causing the death of the bush. Root rot is not treatable, so the diseased plant will have to be destroyed. To stop the spread of fungus, strawberries are treated with fungicides (for example, "Ridomil").
- Powdery Mildew At the initial stage of the disease, the leaf surface is covered with small white dots that visually resemble light dust. When the fungus multiplies, the points merge into powdery spots, covering the leaves, stem and berries. The bush shrinks and dies, and the fruits quickly rot. You can get rid of the infection by spraying the beds with an aqueous solution of copper chloroxide (1 tbsp. L. Means per 10 liters of water).
- Fusarium wilting of leaves. First, the disease affects the main stem of the strawberry, as a result of which it acquires a dark color. Then the infection spreads to the rest of the plant, causing yellowing of the leaves and the death of the ovaries. The bush begins to darken and dies, but the fruits do not ripen. To fight the infection using Metaxil.
To prevent the occurrence of the above difficulties, it is necessary to regularly carry out such preventive measures:
- adhere to the rules of watering and feeding;
- remove weeds on time;
- follow the recommended scheme for planting bushes;
- рассыпать на поверхности грядок луковую шелуху — её запах эффективно отпугивает вредителей;
- проводить опрыскивания клубники раствором «Фитоспорина» не менее 4 раз за сезон — это поможет уберечь растения от грибковых заболеваний.
Читайте подробнее: обработка клубники от вредителей и болезней.
Harvesting and storage of crops, transportability
Клубника данного сорта не ремонтантная, поэтому сбор спелых плодов осуществляется 1 раз за сезон в промежутке времени с середины июня до начала июля. Ягоды Гигантеллы имеют плотную мякоть и твёрдую поверхность, поэтому хорошо транспортируются на большие расстояния.
Но для увеличения продолжительности хранения урожая рекомендуется соблюдать такие правила:
- за несколько дней до сбора ягод нужно уменьшить полив посадок — это сделает мякоть клубники более упругой;
- плоды нужно срывать вместе с зелёными плодоножками — они способствуют более продолжительному хранению продукта и сохраняют сочность мякоти;
- сбор урожая осуществляется утром после высыхания росы или вечером — на ярком дневном солнце спелые ягоды быстро теряют упругость и раскисают;
- собранную клубнику аккуратно выкладывают одним слоем в подготовленные деревянные или пластиковые контейнеры, чтобы ягоды не придавливали друг друга;
- для хранения и транспортировки годятся только целые ягоды без повреждений и гнили, с твёрдой поверхностью — примятые и мягкие плоды нужно сразу же использовать в пищу;
- свежую клубнику хранят и перевозят в холодильнике при температуре 0...+2°С — в таких условиях она может оставаться свежей и упругой на протяжении 4–5 дней.
Important! Мыть клубнику нужно только непосредственно перед употреблением — вода сделает ягоды мягкими и они быстро пустят сок.
Клубника Гигантелла может выращиваться даже в регионах с прохладным климатом, но для получения обильного урожая сладких ягод огороднику придётся приложить определённые усилия. Используя перечисленные в данной статье рекомендации, можно подобрать для посадки растения самое удачное место и создать наиболее подходящие условия для щедрого и регулярного плодоношения кустов. А с помощью простых профилактических мер можно предотвратить появление болезней и вредителей, сохранив для себя весь урожай спелой клубники.