CHENNAI: Yummy is probably the first thing that hits everyone’s mind. Images of strawberries dipped in plain good old vanilla ice cream with a splash of chocolate sauce revolve all around your mind! Yummy again!
On an average, a box of strawberries costs up to Rs 40-Rs 60 and usually the top-layered ones look juicy and mouth watering. But once you get back home and open the pack, voila; the bottom layered berries are mostly pale and squished. But don’t be disappointed… you can grow your own strawberries in your garden. Here are some suggestions:
Strawberry plants grow from runners, which a plant produces mostly during the non winter season.
Buy or source a runner. Usually it is difficult to find it in nurseries and if you do, each costs about Rs 50-Rs 100.
A container of about 6 inches is good enough with a drainy potting mix — less (or no) soil, cocopeat, compost and 2-3 handfuls of sand. Cocopeat and compost in the ratio of 1:1. Leave a few inches of the container empty to add more nutrition later. Do not over water. Only few hours of daily sunlight.
As long as the runner is connected to the mother plant, it will get nutrition from it as well as from the potting mix. The more the number of runners a single mother plant has, more the resource/nutrition drains off from the mother plant.
So after approximately one to two weeks of rooting the child plant, you can cut off the runner from the mother plant
For the first few weeks, place the new plants in shade.
Usually, the strawberry plant will produce flowers and fruits during the cooler months, around October to February.
The flowers are tiny and white in colour, which later turns into red luscious strawberries.
During the rest of the months, they will produce runners. That’s a good time to nurture them.
One of the best nutritions is a weekly handful dose of leftover filter coffee grounds.
Strawberries flower and fruit in cool climates. It is important that you take good care of your plants during summer.