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the blossoms being pinched off before the fruit has tixi^e to
form; the proper stage for pinching off a blossom is showXi at fl-
in Fig. 22. Plants of some varieties will send out too '^^^^
runners, some as many as fifteen or twenty, and some of ^^
must be pruned off or more plants will be set than the ot^P^
plant will be capable of developing properly.

In some localities the plants b are dug in the fall and trans-
planted in rows or hills in the field where the crop is ^
produced, but in the great majority of cases the plants ^^
allowed to remain in the ground during the winter and arc dug
in the spring for spring planting. This practice is conrr^^^^



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§ 15 STRAWBERRIES 27

followed by growers who have their own propagating beds.
The plants b transplanted in a row are shown in Fig. 21 (6).
During the first season they are set in this row these plants
will also send out runners and in their turn form new plants c.
As in the case of the plants in (a), the plants in (6) are not
allowed to bear fruit the first season but are forced to expend
aU their energy in vegetative development. The plants c
are kept within the limits of the row largely by cultivation.

During the spring following the transplanting of the plants 6,
all the plants in the row in (6), including the plants 6, which
aie now 2 years old, and the plants c, which are now 1 year
old, will blossom. These strawberry blossoms are allowed to
remain and the fruit will be borne early in the summer on the
plants of both ages.

After the fruit is
harvested from the
plants in (6), one of
two methods of pro-
cedure may be fol-
lowed. Either, as is
often the case, the
strawberry plants are
plowed imder and the

ground devoted to Fig. 22

some other crop, or, as described elsewhere, the bed is continued
and another crop of fruit is secured the following summer.

From the foregoing explanation it will be seen that fruit is
not ordinarily secured from an original strawberry plant tmtil
the third year. Fruit can, of course, be secured the first year,
but this will be at the expense of the crop of the following year
or of the ability of the plant to produce strong runner plants.

35. Growers who buy their strawberry plants for setting
do not practice that part of the process of strawberry growing
shown in (a), but pay the nurseryman for doing it for them.
Such growers practice only that part of the process shown
in (6), the plants they buy and set out in the field where the
crop is to be produced being represented by the plants b. In



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28 STRAWBERRIES § 15

this way they secure a crop the second year. After once getting
a propagating bed, such as that shown in (a), in operation,
growers who produce their own plants for setting will also enjoy
the same advantage, because each year they will have a fresh
lot of plants that correspond to the plants 6 to set in the fruit-
ing bed. In addition to this they will also have the advantage
of knowing that they control the varieties they are propagating.
A propagating bed is perpetuated by taking some of the plants b
and setting them in a separate plot of groimd to continue the
process shown in (a), while the larger number of the plants b
are set out in the fruiting beds.

In some systems of strawberry culture, especially when the
plants are set in hills, the plants that correspond to the plants b
in (b) are not allowed to set any runner plants similar to the
plants c, but all of the vegetative growth the first season is
confined to the plants b. As a consequence, such plants will
ordinarily make a large growth, and the fruit borne the second
summer will be large and of fine quality. Such a method
of strawberry growing, however, is not considered to be pro-
ductive of the best results commercially, as the income received
will not usually warrant the excessive expense for labor.

When set in their permanent places in a bed, strawberry
plants are commonly expected to bear the next year after plant-
ing, and will usually continue to bear for 5 or 6 years. The
first and second crops, however, aie generally the best, and
commercially but one crop is usually harvested.



PROPAOATION FROM SEED

36. New varieties of strawberries may be obtained by
propagation from seeds. On account of the short time from
the planting of the seed tmtil the plants bear fruit — about a
year at the shortest — sl great many experiments in this line
have been made. The results obtained are, of course, variable,
because no two seeds from a cultivated variety of strawberries
are likely to produce plants that will bear fruit exactly alike.
For the best results, several htmdred, or even several thousand,
plants should be propagated at a time, because the likelihood



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§ 15 STRAWBERRIES 29

of securing many plants that are better than the original is
small. The securing of one plant out of a thousand that will
bear better fruit than the plant from which the seed came is
considered forttmate.

The fruit obtained from any seedling strawberry plant the
first season is not necessarily an indication that the plant will
continue to produce such fruit or will transmit to its runner
plants the power to produce similar fruit. Many plants that
show a great deal of promise the first season fail utterly in later
seasons. For this reason runner plants should be propagated
from the promising seedlings and fruited for 2, or, better,
3 years to determine with some degree of certainty the per-
sistency with which the parent transmits its good qualities
to its rtmner plants.

37. Strawberries may be propagated from seeds accord-
ing to two plans:

1. Immediately after ripening, the seeds may be planted
in soil that is kept continually moist. Such seeds, if properly
handled, will germinate in 4 or 5 weeks, and if the conditions
of growth are favorable during the first summer, the plants
from these seeds will bear fruit the second summer. The
growth of such plants is usually aided by planting them in cold
frames where they will be protected from cold weather late
in the autunm. This will give them a longer period of growth
the first season, than they would have if they were planted in
the open. No runners should be allowed to form the first year,
as the vitality of the plants will probably be sapped.

2. The seeds may be held over for planting imtil the fol-
lowing spring after ripening; strawberry seeds may, if neces-
sary, be kept 3 years without having their power of germination
injured. This plan has the disadvantage that it takes 1 yeai'
longer to secure results. To keep strawberry seed for this
purpose properly, it should be stored in dry sand or in envelopes
where it can be kept dry. In the following spring the seed
should be sown in shallow drills, not more than J inch deep,
in well-prepared soil. As soon as the plants are large enough
they should be transplanted. If only a small number of plants



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30 STRAWBERRIES § 15

are to be handled, they may be transplanted in a nursery, being
set about 6 inches apart each way. Preferably, no runner
plants should be allowed to set this season, or the vitality of the
plants may be reduced. The following spring, the plants
should be set out in their permanent places in a field, in hiUs
about 3 feet apart each way, where they are allowed to fruit.
If a large nimiber of plants is to be handled, transplanting them
directly to their permanent places in the field where they are
to fruit may be found to be the most economical of labor.



SELECTION OF NURSERY PLANTS

38. None but the best strawberry nursery plants should
ever be planted in a strawberry plantation. The cost of good
plants is but little more than the cost of inferior ones, and the
results obtained from the former are often many times those
obtained from the latter. The majority of growers must
depend to a great extent on the ntu-seryman for plants for
setting, and care should be taken to deal only with the most
reliable firms. Good strawberry nursery plants cost money
to grow, and if a nurseryman is to produce good plants and
continue in business he must obtain a fair price for them.
For this reason, apparent bargains in nursery stock rarely
prove to be so in the end. Plants grown by a nurseryman
in the immediate vicinity or by the growei himself are pre-
ferable to those giown at a distance, because such plants may
be dug and planted while still fresh. Also, complaints can be
more readily adjusted with a near-by nurseryman.

Although the production of strawberry nursery plants for
vsale has of late years developed into a very extensive busi-
ness, and the buying of high-quality nursery plants is now
possible, the person who grows strawberries extensively can
usually better afford to grow his own plants. Because of the
asexual method of propagation, there is no difliculty in keeping
varieties true to type, and satisfactory plants can be produced
provided none but vigorous, healthy plants of the desired t^'pe
are propagated from. The home growing of plants also avoids
the risk of securing varieties imtrue to name.



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249—21



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32 STRAWBERRIES § 15

39. The best strawberry plants to set in a new plantation
are the strongest of those from runners of the previous year
from plants that have not fruited. Yoimg plants formed accord-
ing to this plan receive a large proportion of the vitality of
the parent plant. Plants that are made by plants that have
already fruited are very often deficient in vitality. The grower
who produces his own strawberry plants should have his own
propagating bed separate from his fruiting beds.

A thrifty propagating bed is shown in Fig. 23. The rows
at the right have had the runner plants removed; none of the
runner plants have been removed from the rows on the left.
In this propagating bed the old plants are never allowed to
fruit, the blossoms being taken off, as shown at a in Fig. 22,
before the fiuit has a chance to form; thtis, all of the vitality
of the plant is forced into the runners. The plants that are
propagated from plants that are not allowed to fruit should
be vigorous and healthy. Those propagated from plants that
have fruited are usually lacking in vitality and are likely to
be infested with disease and insects.

40. Strawberry plants for setting should appear to be
vigorous. A vigorous, strong-growing plant will have deep-
green, clean, fresh foliage free from spots and will also have a
root system made up of an abimdance of fibrous, light-colored
roots. Plants with a root system of this kind are usually pro-
duced in soil that is mellow, rich, and well drained. Straw-
berry plants having leaves with a yellowish tinge or small,
dark-colored roots are not fit to set. When selecting straw-
berry plants for setting, however, the varietal diflFerences
between plants which are prominently shown in the foliage
should be carefully borne in mind, and nursery plants should
not be indiscriminately condemned. Certain varieties of
strawberries have green leaves of a darker shade than others
when grown on the same soil and imder the same treatment.

Generally speaking, to be of the productive type a strawberry
plant should have a small crown, an abtmdant root system, and
a moderate growth of leaves. Desirable types of nursery plants
are shown in Fig. 24. These plants appear just as they were



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§ 15 STRAWBERRIES 33

when taken from the bundle of plants received from the nur-
seryman. They are well developed, but the crowns are not
too large, and they have an abundance of fibrous roots. They
are also free from disease or decay of any kind and are bright
and clean looking.

Undesirable types of nursery plants are shown in Figs. 25
and 26. Those in Fig. 25 are imdersized and their root develop-
ment is not of the best. Such plants are by no means the worst
that can be chosen, but they are not desirable when better



Fig. 24

plants can be secured. Fig. 26 illustrates several imdesirable
types of nursery plants. Those in (a) are extremely imdesir-
able, being dwarfish, either because of a late start during the
growing season or because the plants from which they were
set were lacking in vitality. The chances are that such plants
would make but a very feeble effort at setting new plants and
that the plants set would bear but little fruit. The plants
shown in (6) are too large, having long, straggly, dark roots,
dark crowns, and a general look of debility. The lack of



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34 STRAWBERRIES § 15

vitality is so evident that their chances of proving satisfac-
tory, even imder the best conditions, are very small.



Fig. 26

41. A word of caution should be given in r^ard to the
selection of very vigorous strawberry plants for setting.



Although productiveness and resistance to disease are closely
asscxiiated with vigor, unfortunately the most vigorous plants



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§ 15* STRAWBERRIES 35

arc not always the most productive, and often plants that appear
to be vigorous when bought will not make as vigorous a growth
as expected. In other words, the inherent qualities of a plant
are very difficult to judge from a superficial examination.
Other factors, such as the conditions tmder which the plant
was grown, should be taken into consideration. The quantity
of plant-food in the soil, and particularly the quantity of nitro-
genous fertility pres-
ent, have a marked in-
fluence on the growth
of a plant and its ap-
parent vigor. Under
less favorable con-
ditions, many plants
will appear much less
promising than they
do in an ideal soil.

The most common
error made in pur-
chasing strawberry
nursery plants is that
of buying plants of
varieties not suitable
for cross-poUination.
Imperfect varieties
should not be planted
alone, and when an
imperfect and a per-
fect variety are to be

planted together care ^°' ^

should be taken to get varieties that will blossom at the same
time, for otherwise the fertilization of the imperfect blossoms
wiU not be secured. Errors of this kind are entirely tmneces-
sary and may be avoided by carefully studying the characteris-
tics of the different varieties.

42. Plants for Fall Setting. — ^The best plants for set-
ting in the fall are pot-grown plants, such as the one shown in



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36 STRAWBERRIES § 15

Fig. 27. Such plants are obtained by sinking small pots filled
with fine, composted soil in the ground near newly-set straw-
berry plants and as the runners develop from the original
plant, training the runners to loot in the pots. The plants
formed in this way are identical with those formed in the ordi-
nary way, except that they have better soil to grow in and they
are not injured so much in transplanting. When they are
taken up in the pots the roots are imdistxirbed, as they are
kept in the ball of earth in which they have been growing.
Such plants suffer but little check in transplanting, usually
continuing their growth without any apparent setback; on the
average they will make stronger plants and will bear more
fruit than strawberry plants produced in the ordinary way.
Some growers prefer them for commercial plantings, although
they are usually considered too expensive for that purpose.



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STRAWBERRIES

(PART 2)



STRAWBERRY PLANTING



GENERAL DISCUSSION

1. Systems of Planting Strawberries. — Strawberries
are planted either in rows or in hills. The system of planting
in rows is varied in detail according to the preference of the
grower. The matted-row system and the bedge-row
system of planting are the two main systems of row planting.
Hedge-row planting may be dismissed with a few words, as it
is not used commercially to any great extent. Two systems of
hedge-row planting are used, the single hedge-row system and
the double hedge-raw system. The single bedge-row system
consists in setting the original plants in rows from 2| to 3i feet
apart and the plants about 2 feet apart in the rows, and allow-
ing each plant to set but two runner plants, one on either side
in the direction of the row. The pruning in this system requires
considerable labor. The double bedge-row system differs
from the single hedge-row system in that the rows are set a
trifle farther apart, from 3 to 4 feet, and each original plant is
allowed to set foiu* runner plants instead of two.

2* The matted-row system of planting strawberries is
usually considered the most practical system on a large scale,
as it gives the best results with the least labor. Sometimes the
matted-row system is divided into the narrow matted-raw
system and the wide matted-row system, but these are not definite

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(16



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4 STRAWBERRIES § 16

terms, because much depends on the varieties planted, on the
soil, and on other conditions. In other words, the width of the
matted row must be varied according to the conditions exist-
ing on each particular field and the variety, chosen for planting.

3. In Fig. 1 are shown strawberries planted in matted rows.
This system of planting is followed by the great majority of
growers in the East. In many commercial strawberry-grow-
ing sections the rows are planted 4 feet apart and the plants
are spaced 18 inches apart in the rows; planting at these dis-
tances will allow plenty of room for the runner plants to set
and still leave space enough between the rows for cultivation
and for picking. Some growers prefer to set the original plants
in rows 3 and 3§ feet apart, but, at such distances, unless the
rows are kept very narrow the spaces between the rows will not
be wide enough for working in. The width of the row can be
readily regulated by the cultivating instruments, and thus
expensive hand pruning avoided. From the results actually
obtained in commercial plantings, apparently nothing is gained
by planting strawberries closer than 18 inches by 4 feet, as
the yields are no greater.

4. In Fig. 2 are shown strawberries planted on the hill
system. This system is employed to some extent in the West
and more particularly in the Northwest. Strawberry plants
set according to this system usually produce larger berries and
often larger yields per acre, but the cost of production is higher
and more labor is necessary. In localities where labor is scarce
this, of course, is an undesirable feature.

When only a small area is planted, and especially when
strawberries are planted in the home garden, the hill system
of planting produces good results. This system requires care-
ful cultivation and attention to keep the runners cut off, and
when a fruit grower has other interests besides strawberry
growing this work is often difficult to perform properly. Com-
mercial growers who begin planting on the hill system fre-
quently discontinue it after a time in favor of the matted-row
system.



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§ 16 STRAWBERRIES 5

The hill system consists in growing each plant equidistant
from every other plant and in pruning off the runners from
each plant so that all the strength of the plant will be thrown
into the development of that plant and resu t in the produc-
tion of extra large berries. The plants are set at varying dis-
tances from each other; 1, Ij, and 2 feet each way are common
distances; the first gives about 43,560 plants per acre, the sec-
ond about 19,360, and the third about 10,890. Frequent
pnming off of the runners is necessary to prevent new plants
from being formed. This pruning results in the formation
of nimierous crowns on each plant, and a vigorous growth that



Pig. 3

develops plants to lour or five times the size of the average
plant, and capable of bearing a crop of fruit in proportion
to the size. The most essential point to observe when growing
plants in the hill system is to prune off the runners while they
are very small, as this will conserve the energies of the plants
to the greatest extent.

One disadvantage in setting strawberry plants as closely as
1 foot apart each way, or even 2 feet apart each way, is that
by the time the plants are full grown the ground will be almost
completely covered. For this reason the hill system is rarely
strictly adhered to, but one row of plants is usually omitted



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6 STRAWBERRIES § 16

across the field every third or fifth row in order to provide
paths for the pickers.

In some instances growers prefer to set their strawberry
plants staggered in the rows, as shown in Fig. 3. The original
plants are marked a and the runner plants that are just b^^in-
ning to develop are marked b,. Each alternate plant is allowed
to set runners in one direction only, and in a very short time
the row is filled in the same way as in the ordinary matted-
row system. The advantage claimed for this system is that
each additional plant sets fewer young plants (only those on
one side) and thus produces stronger and more vigorous and
productive offspring.

6. Prepajpatlon of Land for Strawberries. — ^The prep-
aration of the soil for a strawberry plantation should be well
and carefully done, and, preferably, the land should be fairly
free from weeds before the work is started.

Fall manuring and plowing is desirable, and a second plow-
ing in the spring followed by deep thorough harrowing with
a good smoothing harrow should be given as early as con-
venient. If the plants are not ready to be set when the final
smoothing has been completed, the land may be left without
fiuther treatment imtil just before the plants are ready for
setting, when the ground should again be surface harrowed,
in order to have the surface soil moist and in good condition
for setting.

Immediately before the plants are to be set, rows should be
marked out across the field from 2 to 4 feet apart, according
to the system of setting previously decided on. A convenient
implement for marking out the rows is a com planter. This
marks out two rows at a time and the f lurower leaves the ground
in good condition to receive the roots.

6. Planting to Secure Proi>er Pollination. — Dif-
ferent varieties of strawberries are peculiar in that they have
different kinds of flowers, as described in the previous Section.
These differences in the blossoms of strawberries makes it
essential to arrange varieties in a field in such a way that there
will be abundant pollen for proper fertilization. Unfortunately



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§ 16 STRAWBERRIES 7

some of the best varieties of strawberries have imperfect flowers
and are thiis not self-fertile. To make them productive, these
blossoms must be pollinated by pollen from perfect flowers
and hence the pollen-bearing varieties need so to be inter-
spersed with the non-pollen bearing imperfect flowering plants
that the chances will be all in favor of an abundant supply
of pollen at the right time.

The common method of planting perfect and imperfect
varieties of strawberries together is to plant from two to four
rows, usually three rows, of a pistillate, or imperfect, variety
to one row of a perfect variety. It is essential, however, in
this kind of a planting, that the varieties flower at the same
season. There are many varieties of strawberries, and they
vary in their bl6ssoming as well as in their bearing season,
within somewhat wide limits. The first of the early kinds,
in fact, have often finished fruiting before the late kinds have
ripened much fruit. It is essential, therefore, that perfect and
imperfect varieties that are to be planted together blossom
at the same time.

The argument is sometimes made that matters could be
simplified by planting none but perfect varieties. But mahy
tests have shown that some of the pistillate, or imperfect,
varieties when properly mated are the biggest producers and
that the fruit is of the highest quality. Even in fields where
none but perfect varieties are planted at least three to fotu
varieties should be planted in order to secure cross-pollination,
for in this way a larger crop will be seoired than when only one
variety is planted.

7. Time for Planting:. — As a general rule, spring plant-
ing of strawberries is the most satisfactory, though autimin
planting, particularly in some sections of the coimtry, has also
been successftd. Spring planting is generally considered the
best because at this time the soil is in good condition to receive



Online LibraryInternational Correspondence SchoolsPeach culture: plum culture; grape culture; strawberries; raspberries ... → online text (page 20 of 35)