I think that this is the merit of the pine needles used for the winter shelter. In late autumn, 2–3-year-old large strawberry bushes I sprinkle with needles from the sides, slightly spud, and the small, young ones fall asleep directly from above, “with my head”. The needles perfectly retain heat residues even in the coldest season, and during thaws they let the air through well, giving the plants even the necessary oxygen in winter.
The snow in my summer cottage completely disappears by the end of April, but I don’t hurry to free the winded strawberries from the pine needles that covered it. Only when the day becomes quite warm (often in the middle of May), will I start processing strawberries after winter. On all beds, I do not completely remove the needles, but only spread them evenly over the soil between the bushes. All summer it will serve as mulch, keeping precious moisture, blocking the path to weeds and partially scaring off pests, and the cute berries lying on the needles will always be clean. I don’t touch the old, dry strawberry leaves, they still remain under the needles and do not cause any problems.
Under the rays of the bright May sun, strawberries begin to grow actively and please the eye with young, lively leaves. But calm down early. In the spring, the main problem for strawberries is night frosts. As soon as the buds appear and the plants begin to bloom, you have to watch the weather very carefully and cover the flowering beds when there is a threat of cooling. I use for this purpose the prepared strips of nonwoven covering material. In the evening I throw them on the beds - in the morning I take them off. And so on until the second decade of June, until the threat of frost finally passes!
But then you can sigh calmly and rejoice, watching the cute strawberries fill with juice. They grow before our eyes, and now at the end of June the first little red ones appear. So, soon and the main harvest to collect!
The strawberry is very responsive to intensive care, so I do liquid feedings for her twice a season.
The first time - in the month of May, before flowering, and the second time - in July, immediately after harvest.
For liquid strawberry dressings, I use fresh chicken dung. A few hours before the liquid feeding strawberry beds should be watered, or you need to do it after a good rain. In 10−12 liters of water I thoroughly stir a portion of fresh chicken manure at the rate of 1 to 10−15 and immediately consume it (I do not insist to avoid nitrogen losses). I water the strawberries very evenly, from a watering can without a sprayer between the rows of plants, at the rate of one bucket for 6–8 adult bushes. The rest in the bucket is poured under the other garden plants - currants, raspberries, castor oil or apples.
Of the diseases on my strawberry there are purple spot and powdery mildew, but on a very small scale, so I do not take any measures on this matter. But the strawberry mite in some seasons badly harms. In this case, it is necessary to treat the plants with hot water (65 degrees) in early spring and after harvesting.
But apparently, due to the fact that the beds are regularly updated taking into account crop rotation and pine needles for mite is not inward, the last 3-4 years tick is not particularly annoying. And to get rid of it completely alone is almost impossible, since we have infected almost all the landings at the nearby garden plots. Therefore, very quickly the tick appears even on healthy bushes brought from other places.
From early spring to late autumn strawberries are regularly watered 2–3 times a week, weeding from the weeds that have made their way through the mulch and hoeing up the row spacing on the garden beds. After leaving the required number of mustaches to ensure the renewal of the strawberry plantation, I delete all newly emerging mustaches.
Sometimes in warm autumn strawberries, deceived by the vagaries of the weather, begin to bloom again. Since this prevents the plants from preparing normally for the harsh Siberian winter, the emerging flower stalks are also removed.
I have on my summer cottage two main varieties of strawberries (garden strawberries). This is Lord and Julia. Both varieties are good in their own way. The lord bears fruit well for 4–5 years (not counting the year of disembarkation) and even longer, but the beds of Yulia have to be renewed more often, in 2–3 years, but then she has an earlier and better taste. Periodically I try different new varieties, but so far I haven’t found a worthy replacement for these veterans of the site. In general, each gardener selects varieties for growing at their own discretion.
Like my entire summer cottage, I have a small strawberry plantation - only about 200 bushes. In 2011, the harvest was quite good and amounted to about 155 liters. The quality of the berries was also good. Some strawberries are usually processed, some are stored for winter consumption in the freezer, but, of course, everything else is consumed fresh. Nobody refuses to help in this matter! And all 15 buckets somehow imperceptibly and quickly evaporate. And this is wonderful, because fragrant, beautiful, juicy, strawberry berries are not only very tasty, but also useful - immensely!