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able for a beginner to follow such a system, but rather to
rotate strawberries with potatoes, cabbage, or similar crops.

As a general rule, strawberries have been found to do best
after a well-fertilized and well-tilled crop. Preferably straw-
berries should not follow grass in a rotation on account of the
liability of injury from the white grub. On the other hand,
a clover sod plowed under is of great value as a bed for

Companion crops may, in some instances, be grown in the
strawberry bed with profit the first season, but the companion

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crop grown should cover only a small area and should come to
an early maturity. Some growers set onion sets and lettuce
between the strawberry plants and plant a row of snap beans
between the strawberry rows. Some growers plant peas
between strawberry rows and get a crop the first spring, after
which they allow the strawberry plants to have all the space.

Horace Roberts, of New Jersey, advocates planting tomato
plants in the strawberry rows. About June 1, he plants a
tomato plant between every other hill of strawberries, and
claims that it protects the strawberry plants dxiring the hot
weather of August. The sprayings given the tomatoes also
benefit the strawberries, and he claims that this practice keeps
the strawberry plants from getting too thick, since they enter
the winter in good shape, and does not injure them in any way.

It is questionable, however, whether the practice of inter-
cropping in a strawberry bed is profitable in the long run.


23. Strawberries respond readily to heavy fertilization,
but care should be taken not to supply them with too much
free nitrogen, particularly just before fruiting. Abundant
nitrogen produces an excessive growth of foliage at the expense
of the fruit, and if nitrate of soda or a similar fertilizer is applied
shortly before fruiting the quality of the berries will invariably
be injured and their shipping quality damaged.

The first fertilization of the strawberry bed should occur
the fall previous to setting the plants or in the spring. This
should consist of the application of from 10 to 15 cords of well
rotted stable or barnyard manure. As average stable manure
weighs about 2 tons per cord of 128 cubic feet, and barnyard
manture weighs about 3 tons per cord, this would mean an
application of from 20 to 30 tons according to the kind of
manure used. With land well prepared, the newly-set plants
should start into vigorous growth. After growth is well started
a top dressing of 1,000 pounds to the acre of a fertilizer analyzing
2 per cent, of available nitrogen, 8 per cent, of available phos-
phoric acid, and 8 per cent, of available potash will rarely fail

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to produce a satisfactory growth. The early application the
second spring of 500 pounds to the acre of a fertilizer analyzing
5 per cent, of nitrogen and 8 per cent, each of phosphoric add
and potash by broadcasting it over the rows will start a vigor-
ous, healthy growth early in the season. It is particularly
important that the appHcation the second spring be made eariy,
soon after the plants start into growth.

To mix the 2-8-8 fertilizer at home, the following materials
will be required (the quantities given are approximate): 120
poimds of nitrate of soda; 235 pounds of tankage: — 2 per cent,
nitrogen, 8 per cent, phosphoric acid; 460 pounds of add phos-
phate — 14 per cent. ; 185 pounds of sulphate of potash.

To mix the 5-8-8 fertilizer, the following materials will be
required: 150 pounds of nitrate of soda; 275 pounds of add
phosphate; 75 poimds of sulphate of potash.

A fertilizer spreader, operated either by horse or hand, is
satisfactory for applying fertilizers, but many growers apply
by hand. Careftil supervision is required to insure even

Strawberries do best on land that has not been limed. For
this reason add phosphate is a particularly valuable fertilizer
for this crop. ^

24. As might naturally be expected, growers vary con-
siderably in their methods of applying fertilizers to strawberries.
Manure, however, is generally applied in the fall as a mulch
and the best results are obtained from the appUcation of both
manure and commerdal fertilizer. A suitable commercial
fertilizer for this purpose is one analyzing 4 per cent, of nitro-
gen, 8 per cent, of phosphoric add, and 10 per cent, of potash.
In some instances a potassic fertilizer alone is used.

Most commercial strawberry growers use commercial fer-
tilizer and vary in the use or omission of manure. The fer-
tilizer is usually applied in the spring of the second year before
the buds start. Nothing is gained from the use of both manure
and fertilizer during the fruiting year. The best method of
fertilization is to apply manures the first year and commercial
fertilizer the second year.

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Horace Roberts, of New Jersey, advises against the chemical
commercial fertilizers for strawberries, claiming that they inter-
fere with the growth of the plant. He advocates the selection
of fairly good land for the strawberry bed. Immediately after
the plants are set he applies 1,000 pounds of groimd bone to
the acre, and a little later in the season he applies 500 poimds
of tankage.


25. Some varieties of strawberri^ send out too many
runners, especially when planted closely. This results in the
production of a large niunber of weak plants when it is desir-
able to produce a smaller number of correspondingly stronger
plants. The trimming off of the runners is a very laborious
and expensive method of getting rid of surplus runners, and
hence some other method is more advisable.

The picking off of all the blossoms the first year as soon as
they appear has a tendency to make the plants set an extensive
nimiber of runners for the reason that all the energy of the
plant is sent into the vegetative growth and none into the
reproductive growth. This difficulty may be at least partly
avoided by allowing berries to develop the first season to a size
of from i to I inch and then clip them off. On many varieties
that are prone to set a large nimiber of runners, this will have a
tendency to give fewer and stronger runners.

26. The strawberry plant is allowed to send out runners
in number according to the system of cultiire adopted. A
single plant of some varieties will send out as many as
twelve to twenty plants if allowed to grow unmolested. The
wide matted-row system provides for the greatest number of
plants, and the limit to the width of the row is set by the cul-
tivator, which rips out the plants growing beyond bounds.
It is frequently the practice when this system is adopted to
limit the pruning to that done by the cultivator. The same
is often true with the narrow matted-row system. The cul-
tivator is run closer to the row and the surplus plants pulled
off in cultivation or they are removed when the strawberry bed

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26 STRAWBERRffiS § 16

is hcxid. The circular cutters are of value in limiting the width
of the rows if they are kept sharp enough to do the work for
which they are intended, namely, to sever the runners con-
necting the young plants with the mother plant. If this is
not done the uprooted runner plants continue to draw on the
resources of the old plant.

For the single hedge row and double hedge row much hand
pruning is necessary. A small paring knife or a jackknife is
the best cutter, and the runners are cut off close to the mother
plants, either two or four being left, according to the system

In the hill system all runners are kept off. This neces-
sitates a large expenditure of labor, and it is the amount of
work required to remove the runners that is the greatest argu-
ment against this system.

For the matted-row systems, the time for pnming is when
a sufficient ntimber of runner plants have set in the row.
For the hill system, the sooner the runners are removed
the less the mother plants are sapped of their strength.



27. The principal insect enemy of the strawberry is the
white grub, which is the larva of a beetle. This white grub
is shown in Fig. 10. Usually but one white grub
win be found in a plant. When once in a straw-
1 berry bed, the white grub can be controlled only by
^ digging it out from below the crown of the infested
plant, and by cultivating the land about the plants
early in the fall. Strawberries should not be set on
Fig. 10 sQ(j j^nd likely to be infested with white grubs. If
cultivated for a year in com or other farm crops (not potatoes)
on which the grub does not feed, a field will be rid of most of

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28. The strawberry leaf roller often does considerable
damage to strawbeny beds, causing the leaves to roll, or fold
together, and become dry
and brown, due to the
feeding of the small green
caterpillars on the inside
of the folds. Leaves
affected with leaf rollers
are shown in Fig. 11. i
The strawberry leaf rol- '
ler is rarely troublesome
for more than a year or
two in succession. The
damage done by this
insect is usually confined
to a small area. If spray-
ing is delayed until after fig. u
the leaves begin to roll, or fold over, the control of this pest
will be difficult, because the caterpillars cannot be reached,
but in strawberry beds where spraying is systematically con-
ducted, as described later, this insect will not be bothersome.


29. Strawberries are attacked by fewer diseases than almost
any other fruit. The only disease that has as yet done serious
injury to strawberries is the strawberry leaf six>t, which
is also known as the strcavberry leaf blight and as the strawberry
rust. This disease is more prevalent dtiring some seasons than
others, and more serious on some varieties than on others.
It may be said that generally the more vigorous the growth
of a variety the less damage it will suffer from leaf spot.

The strawberry leaf spot is nearly always present to some
extent on both wild and cultivated varieties of strawberries,
though on some it does but little damage. The development
of this disease, like that of most other fungous diseases, is
favored by moisture and heat ; a heavy dew when the spores of
this disease are present will greatly assist infection. Weather

24»— 23

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favorable to infection followed by several hot, dry daj^ may
cause very serious injury. In some localities entire plantings
have been destroyed in a few days by strawberry leaf spot.

Strawberry leaves in-
fected with leaf spot are
shown in Fig. 12. These
spots are small, usually
from J to } inch in diam-
eter, and are bordered
with red or purple, the
older spots having white
or ashen centers. When
the spots are numerous
^'°' *^ they may run into one

another and form large irregular blotches. The disease may
also be found on the fruit stems, where it proves very injurious,
as it diminishes the food supply received by the fruit and thus
greatly reduces the crop.

30. Spraying of Strawberries. — ^Few commercial grow-
ers spray strawberries at all, and on accoimt of the few troubles
to which this plant is subject, such a practice is safer than it is
with almost any other fruit. On the other hand, however,
the increased yield of fruit that can be secured by the system-
atic application of sprays makes spraying profitable. The
follo^vdng method of spraying for the control of the strawberry-
leaf spot and the strawberry leaf roller has been recommended
(the other strawberry troubles are controlled as described
elsewhere) :

1. Soon after the growth of the newly set plants begins,
spray with 4-5-50 Bordeaux mixture (4 pounds of copper
sulphate, 5 pounds of stone lime, water-slaked, and 50 gallons
of water).

2. Repeat this spraying in about 2 weeks, and two or three
times more during the first season, as may be needed.

3. The second spring, before the plants blossom, spray with
the Bordeaux mixture of the formula given in paragraph 1.
Whenever the strawberry leaf roller is present add from 2 to

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3 pounds of arsenate of lead to each 50 gallons of the Bordeaux

4. About 2 weeks later give another spraying with the
Bordeaux mixture mentioned in paragraph 1.

Another spray that will be equally as effective as the Bor-
deaux mixture is a dilute lime-sulphur solution (specific grav-
ity .006, that is, 33^ Baum6 concentrated lime-sulphur solu-
tion, diluted 1 to 40 with water). When the concentrated
lime-sulphur solution is purchased, that is, does not have to be
boiled at home, the lime-sulphiir is often found to be more
convenient to use than the Bordeaux mixture.


31. Frost injury to strawberries occurs principally when the
plants are in bloom, and a frost during the blossoming period
wiU always do damage. Strawberry blossoms that have been
injured by frost may be detected by the centers, or hearts, of
the blossoms turning black the next day after the frost. Straw-
berry buds rarely suffer from frosts, and then only when there
is an exceptionally hard frost. Neither will the fruit set be
injured by an ordinarily hard frost.

Late spring frosts are particularly damaging to the blos-
soms of the early-blooming varieties of strawberries, and in
some parts of the country it is not profitable to grow such
varieties for this reason. Of the early blossoming varieties the
Geneva, New York, Experiment Station recommends Mascot,
Parcel Early, and Superior for a test in the colder section^.

The injurious effects of frosts on strawberry plantations
may to some extent be prevented by smudging with smudge
pots similar to those used for tree fruits. THis method of
preventing damage from frosts is, however, not of practical
importance. Practical growers avoid frosts by a careful selec-
tion when setting the strawberry beds. When a good mulch
is on the strawberry bed and the grower is forewarned of frost
in time, it is possible to protect the strawberry plants by shaking
a light mulch over them. The practical application of such a
method, however, very seldom works out satisfactorily.

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32. Strawberries are almost never winter killed if properly
mtdched. Winter killing is caused by a breaking of the roots
by the heaving caxised by freezing and thawing. A good mtdch
of straw, hay, seaweed, pine needles, or any material that will
not mat down so as to smother the plants, but will prevent
alternate freezing and thawing, is entirely suitable. The
mulch shotild be put on as soon as the ground is well frozen
in the fall and it should not be packed too tightly over the
plants. The mulch should be allowed to remain on the plants
until after danger of frost has passed in the spring, and after
the plants are uncovered the mulch should be placed between
the rows and imder the sides of the plants to keep the fruit
clean. Soon after the fruit is picked the mulch should be
removed and the plantation plowed.

The advice is often given to grow a crop of something between
the rows in order to fturdsh a mulch. This practice, however,
is not to be recommended, because the crop grown will take
considerable moisture from the strawberry plants in the summer
and if a grain or grass crop it will be difficult to subdue it in
the spring without considerable injury to the strawberry plants.


33. Poorly shaped strawberries, or nubbins, are caused
by unfavorable weather and a lack of proper pollination. The
common cause is unfavorable weather, as both the flower and
the growing fruit of the strawberry is susceptible to injury
from the cold winds and low temperatures that are frequent
in some sections. Heavy rains during the blossoming period
are also likely to interfere with the proper pollination. Poorly
shaped fruit that is due to improper pollination may, to a great
extent, be overcome by planting together the proper varieties;
that is, imperfect varieties should not be planted by them-
selves, but if the planting of the imperfect varieties is desir-
able they should be planted in the proportion of two to four
rows of imi^erfect varieties to one row of a perfect variety.

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34. The picking of strawberries is a very important oper-
ation. The fruit is of a highly perishable nature and, if the
greatest profit is to be secured, the berries must be carefully
picked. Also, this work of picking should be so carried on that
all of the fruit will be harvested. For this purpose reliable
pickers must be hired, and they should be paid a price for pick-
ing that will insure careftil, thorough work; when pickers feel

Fig. 13

tliat they have to hurry at top speed in order to earn a day's
vvages good work cannot be expected. In many sections,
strawberry pickers are paid 1 J cents a quart for careful picking.
To insure more careful handling of the fruit as well as for
t;iie sake of convenience, the pickers should be supplied with a
picking stand that will hold from four to six l-quart baskets.
/^ picking stand holding six l-quart baskets is shown in Fig. 13.
Ttie short legs on the stand hold the tray off the ground and keep
-th^ baskets free from dirt and dampness. As the tray holds
3, rwmber of baskets the picker can readily grade the fruit by

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moKsirtt TAU.V tiokbt


rirat Qvdky StrawfevriM
R. P. D. No. I ZuiMvllle, Ohio



Fig. 14

simply dropping those of a size in a basket. Grading in this
way, provided it is conscientiously done, makes a great saving
in labor and justifies the pajrment of good prices for picking.

35. Where a large number of pickers are employed and the
work is paid for by the quart, some system of keeping account

of thenumberof quarts
picked by each person
is a necessity. In
some cases, the count
is kept in a book by
one man, but this
often leads to dis-
satisfaction. In other
cases, small tickets,
slips, or cards, with numbers representing either quarts or
money printed on them, are given to each picker as the fruit
is delivered at the packing house, and these are cashed in at
the end of the day, week, or season, as the case may be. The
disadvantage of this system is that the tickets are often lost
and complaints difficult of adjustment are made. The use of
a tag similar to a shipping tag, with numbers representing
quarts printed on one side, is usually more satisfactory than
either of the other methods. This tag is fastened to the clothing
of the picker and hence is seldom lost, and the ptmch marks
on it form a perfectly definite record of the amount due the
picker. Such a tag is shown in Fig. 14. Whenever a picker
delivers a picking
stand of six 1-quart
baskets to the packing
shed one of the 6*s is
punched out of the
card. The I's at the
end of the card are for
odd quart baskets that ^'''' ^^

may be turned in. In case the picking stands hold but four
1-quart baskets, 4's should be printed on the card instead of 6*s.
A pimch suitable for pimching such tags is shown in Fig. 15.

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36. Strawberries should be dry and firm when picked;
they should never be picked when wet, because they will

Fig. 16

deteriorate very rapidly in quality in that condition. For this
reason the sun shotild be allowed to dry the dew off the berries

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in the morning before the fruit is picked, and they should never
be picked too soon after a rain. When possible, the heavy
picking should be done in the afternoon.

The fruit should be graded into firsts and
seconds as it is picked. As mentioned be-
fore, rapid picking operates against having
fruit well graded. With strawberries par-
ticularly, grading is better done in the field
than in the packing shed, as grading at this
time saves rehandling the fruit and more
or less bruising in consequence. In the case
Fig. 17 of fancy berries, the baskets may be faced

in a packing shed, but it should not be necessary to do any gra-
ding there. To maintain a high standard of picking, each quart
basket should be inspected before it is crated for shipment.

For shipment to near-by markets, the fruit should be picked
when ripe. For a distant market it should be picked in the

Fig. 18

proper underripe state to insure its reaching the market in fine
condition; the determination of the right time to pick requires

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experience. To have all the fruit picked at the proper time it
may be necessary to go over a patch more than once. Fig. 16
shows a spray from a plant with the fruit in different stages of
ripening and explains why it is necessary to pick the field over
more than once.

Strawberries should be picked with short stems, as shown in
Fig. 17, the stems being severed by the finger nails. Berries
with short stems keep better than those without stems.

A plant loaded with fruit is shown in Fig. 18, and a gang of
strawberry pickers is shown in Fig. 19. The picking stands shown
in Fig. 19 are not of the best t)rpe, as they have no legs to hold
the trays off the ground. The plant shown in Fig. 18 has an
abundance of fruit on it, but the fruit varies in size, and if only
fancy fruit is desired more than one picking is advisable.


S7. There are no standard packs for strawberries. The
bulk of the strawberries sent to market are so small that any

definite pack is out of the question. Large, fancy berries,
however, show off to better advantage when vmiformly packed.

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and such packing pays when the fruit is to be offered to a dis-
criminating trade. Large, fancy berries should be packed with
the upper layer in rows in the quart boxes with the hulls all one
way and the sides of the berries showing; this is called facing.
The berries should not be laid flat but should be tilted a trifle
so that the points will be slightly higher than the stem end.
In this position the berries will show off to the best advantage.
Berries packed in the manner described are shown in Fig. 20.
When large quantities of strawberries are to be packed,
a packing house or shed is necessary, because the berries should
not be kept in the sun any length of time after being picked,

(a) (b)

Pig. 22

and in a packing shed the packing can be continued in inclement
weather after the picking is stopped. Such a shelter also makes
packing more of a pleasant task for the packers and, incidentally,
enables them to work faster and better. A packing shed may be
constructed in a great variety of ways. A substantial packmg
shed is shown in Fig. 21. The roof is strongly made to keep off
the sun as well as the rain, and openings are left in the sides to
aUow good ventilation. Packing tables are shown at a. The
fully packed crates are shown at 6, and the picker stands, or
carriers, with six 1-quart baskets in each, are shown at c.

38, strawberry Baskets and Boxes.— In Fig. 22 (fl)
is shown the common 1-quart strawberry basket. Such baskets

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were formerly put together with tacks, but some are now made

with wire staples and these are stronger and less liable to come

apart. In (6) is shown a number of these baskets nested. When

thus nested they may be packed 160 in a 32-quart crate and

96 in a 24-quart crate; they are usually packed this way when

crates are ordered at the same time as

the baskets. Usually, when baskets

and crates are ordered together, the

crates to be shipped in the flat so as to

save freight, the mantifacturer will nail

together enough crates to hold the bas- Pig. 23

kets. When the baskets are ordered by themselves they are

usually shipped in temporary crates holding 1,000 or less,

according to the ntimber ordered.

When bought in large quantities, strawberry baskets will
normally cost from $2.75 to $3 per thousand. In the winter
they may be bought for as low as $2.35 per thousand, and in

Online LibraryInternational Correspondence SchoolsPeach culture: plum culture; grape culture; strawberries; raspberries ... → online text (page 22 of 35)