Soil for strawberries at home
To grow a high-quality strawberry crop, you need to create maximum conditions for the plant. One of the main components of success is a suitable soil in all respects. What characteristic soil under strawberries should have is the topic of today's article.
What soil does strawberry like - sour or alkaline?
From the acidity of the soil will depend on how well the culture will develop, whether it will be susceptible to disease, whether there is enough nutrition for full ripening.
Did you know? The most elaborate strawberry dessert worth $ 1.4 million is served in the United States, in a New Orleans restaurant. The highlight of the dessert is the pink diamond jewelry attached to it.
To determine which soil is preferable for strawberries, a small comparison of indicators will help:
- pH 3-4 - strongly acidic soil, in which the scanty content of nitrogen, potassium, boron and phosphorus. And these are the substances that are needed throughout the growing season. In such a land there is an increased content of aluminum, iron, manganese. Excess of these minerals reduces the ability of the cells of the root system to absorb already scarce nutrition;
- pH 7-8 — slightly alkaline soil is characterized by a lack of phosphorus, but if it is constantly replenished with fertilizers, then a lack of zinc and copper occurs, which leads to chlorosis;
- pH 8-9 - increased alkaline reaction is characterized by a lack of nitrogen and phosphorus, an excess of copper, manganese, zinc. This factor slows down the development of the plant, leads to twisting of the foliage.
The conclusion suggests itself: for the good development of strawberries you need a slightly acidic soil or with a neutral reaction. In slightly acidic soils, the amount of necessary elements is close to the ideal composition (in a neutral environment it is optimal), with the help of top dressing, the culture gets everything necessary. In addition, the activity of beneficial microorganisms is best manifested in weakly acidic and neutral soil. Ideal acidity parameters for berries in the range of 5.5–6.5 pH.
No less important is the structure of the earth for strawberries and its throughput. Loose sandstones and heavy clay soils are equally unsuitable. Nutrient chernozem with proper top dressing, such as mulching needles, will be an ideal soil. But such lands are not everywhere.
Suitable composition, “correct soil” are the following lands:
- sandy loam - quickly evaporates moisture, without forming a crust on the surface, perfectly passes air and water deep into, light;
- loamy - quite fertile, perfectly passes and retains moisture, loose, passes heat and air.
Soil preparation for spring planting
A new, previously unused area is prepared in 1-2 years. Together with deep digging and cleaning of weeds, stones, large roots or branches, if necessary, the soil is deoxidized. To do this, it is best to add wood ash (hardwood) or dolomite flour, which is rich in magnesium.
The application rate, depending on the indicator, is 300-600 g of substance per square meter. Sand is added to heavy soil, about 2 kg / m²; sandy soil is heavier by the application of chernozem and peat (up to 8 kg / m²).
The strawberry landing area should be protected from draft and at the same time open to sun exposure. Along the perimeter, tall bushes and trees casting a shadow on a future planting are not desirable. The place should be flat, a small slope is allowed, but not a lowland, where melt and rainwater accumulate. The location of groundwater is below 2 m from the surface, which will save the root system from decay.
Important! You can not plant a garden berry after garden crops such as solanaceous vegetables: they leave the spores of many diseases in the soil.
Methods for soil disinfection
Soil, as it is used, is prone to accumulate microorganisms, including those harmful to crops. Insects and their larvae often winter there, so disinfecting the land is one of the gardener's primary tasks.
Chemical preparations, for the most part, contain components that are harmful to strawberries, so they use the most gentle means.
Effective use of such tools:
- TMTD (fungicide) is not dangerous for plants, therefore it can be used before direct planting. Destroys root rot pathogens, late blight;
- copper sulfate is used once every five years, since copper accumulates in the soil, and its excess negatively affects the development of plants. The tool is effective against most fungal diseases;
- "Rovral" (fungicide) is safe for the plant, so it can be laid in the planting hole. Protects berry bushes from the defeat of various fungi.
Important! Together with pathogenic bacteria, beneficial microorganisms also die under the influence of aggressive chemicals, therefore, after disinfection, the fertility of the earth has to be revived.
For safe disinfection, biological preparations containing strains of bacteria that produce antibiotics that destroy pathogenic microorganisms are used. Therefore, they are used for disinfecting the soil, and in treating plants at any stage of development.
Among these drugs:
In addition, during the autumn digging, the soil is cleaned manually of plant debris, repellent plants are planted on the area between the rows, repelling insects, which themselves are pests and carry the pathogens on themselves.
The list of such plants is huge, the most famous of them:
Another method, quite lengthy, but effective and safe:
- The land on the site that has been used for 3-5 years is dug out by layers.
- Layers of soil are stacked in piles, treated with slurry.
- For about 3-5 years, the earth rests with regular shoveling of layers, removal of sprouted weeds.
- During this time, spores of many diseases, such as rot (of various types), die in the soil, and seeds of weed plants die.
Fertilizing the land before planting
In the spring, before planting, the plot prepared in the fall is fertilized with a mixture of organic and mineral substances (per m²):
- humus - 6 kg;
- potassium sulfate - 120 g;
- superphosphate - 100 g.
After digging with making food, the plot is leveled and beds are prepared. As the bushes grow, peat mulch is useful for strawberries.
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Formation of beds
In the case of ordinary ridges, they are formed in a direction from north to south: thus, all bushes will be evenly lit throughout the day. Between the rows leave a distance of up to 70 cm, between the bushes 20-40 cm (depending on the strength of growth).
In small areas, to save usable area create tier beds. For example, made of natural stone: practical, durable and will serve as decoration.
Ways to increase soil fertility
One of the main factors of fertility is the observance of crop rotation, since there are cultures that deplete the soil, but there are, on the contrary, improving its quality, such as legumes, cereals. In addition, it is advisable to practice mixed planting, that is, to plant nearby plants of different families.
The annual introduction of digging organics (manure, litter, humus, compost) saturates the earth for future planting with almost all the necessary substances.
Read also our e-magazine on strawberry cultivation.
It is useful to plant green manure that improves land quality. Herbs, having a long stem root system, loosen the soil, increase its ability to absorb moisture and allow air to pass through. After mowing, green residues are usually embedded in the soil.
The most effective means of restoring fertility is vermicompost. This type of organics contains worms, which, as food, absorb the simplest fungi, microbes. And in return, enzymes are released into the soil that inhibit pathogenic microorganisms. In addition, earthworms loosen the soil, improving its resistance to water and wind erosion.
From time to time, the land should be “under the steam”, rest from landings. This does not mean that the site is left empty and does not carry out any work. To restore nutrients, you need to regularly feed the earth with organic matter.
Tips for beginner gardeners
If on your site the soil composition leaves much to be desired, there is an opportunity to "prepare" the soil with your own hands.
- The upper layer, 8–10 cm, is removed from the forest podzolic land.
- Several layers are stacked in a shoulder 100 × 80 cm in size.
- Before laying, each layer is abundantly moistened.
- The burt is tightly covered with a film, making several openings for air access into it.
- Under a shelter made of polyethylene, the temperature rises, which leads to the "burning" of all microorganisms and plant debris in the soil.
- After 3 months, the composition of the earth layers in the pile becomes ideal for growing sweet and fragrant berries.
Did you know? The record weight of strawberries was recorded in 1983 in the USA. The mass of berries grown by a local farmer was 231 g.
Having properly prepared the soil for planting the crop, the gardener will get an excellent harvest. We should not forget, however, and timely care for strawberries.