Black strawberry created with no genetic modifications
28 May, 2014
Black strawberry created with no genetic modifications
Strawberries appear in the first days of May and their availability reaches its peak by the end of the month.
Cultivation of this durable berry is well-developed in our country, and last year, as May was coming to an end, Georgia even had a Strawberry Festival. Several trivial conditions considered, any gardener can grow his own strawberries.

Andro Khetereli, member of Georgia’s Agrarian Movement:

“Some types of strawberry plant bear fruit once per season, while some do so for the
entire year. Such types are called remontant. For example, “Queen Elisabeth II” strawberry is a remontant type, it has bright red fruit; “Brighton” is resistant to diseases and illnesses as well as cold, it has orange-reddish fruit; another early fruit-bearer is “Dawn”, which grows in large bushes and has average-sized, bittersweet berries, are resistant to cold and require a lot of watering; the “Festive” strawberry starts bearing fruit in the middle of the season, and is also resistant to cold and diseases and has large blood-red fruit; berries harvested from the Dutch strawberry “Gigantella” are extremely large.”

In Georgia the most widespread strawberry types are “Leninakan”, “Leninakan 1”, “Misovka”, “Rozovaya” and others.

- How should we select the plot of land for planting strawberries?

- It is desirable for the plot to be free of trees and bushes, so that the seedlings will not be shaded by them. It is good for the plot to be slightly slopped, this facilitates drainage of extra water. It is not recommended to plant strawberries in shady lowlands, because cold air might damage the plants. It is desirable to plant strawberries where onions, greens or grains previously grew. Do not plant them in a plot that previously was home to potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers or cabbage, in order to avoid strawberries getting infected with diseases peculiar to these plants.

- How should the soil be prepared?

- Black, slightly sour soil is best for strawberries. If the soil isn’t adequate, its modification is possible. For example, in order to enhance aeration, you can add organic fertilizer (12-15 kg per square metre). In order to drain excess water, ditches are dug. For each 1-2 meters, the following amounts of fertilizer are applied: 8-10kg of humus, 80-100g of superphosphates, 50-60g of potash. If you want to plant strawberries in spring, the earth should be fertilized in last year’s autumn; if you plant in autumn, then the earth should be fertilized in spring. Strawberries from a single location bear fruit for 3-4 years.

- When is the best time to plant strawberries?

- In early spring, preferably in the beginning of April, this way strawberries will not fall behind in development compared to the ones you planted in last year’s autumn. Strawberry planted later (late April or early May) develops slowly. If you are planning to plant in summer (July or August) you will only be able to harvest by the next year. Summer planting should be done in cloudy or rainy weather. The best time to plant strawberries in autumn is from August 20 to September 15.

- Strawberries best grow in Easter Georgia, but last year, in the framework of some program, a substantial harvest was gathered in Western Georgia as well. Given correct care, is it possible to grow strawberries in all regions?

- The best places to grow strawberries are indeed in Eastern Georgia, near Mtkvari river and valleys of its branches (Borjomi, Ksani, Aragvi, Gldani, Lochini and others) terraced hills and mountainous zones (Tianeti, Kojori, Tskneti, Kiketi and others). In Georgia, however, growing strawberries is possible on any agricultural or village land situated between 350 and 1300 meters above sea level.

- Is it possible to raise strawberries all year long to satisfy the local demand?

- Greenhouses can support remontant types of strawberry all year long. Georgia has the potential to completely satisfy the local demand, but modern technology in this field should be available to Georgian farmers if this is to come true.

How to properly plant strawberry seedlings

Strawberry seedlings are raised from seeds (tiny stones inside strawberries). This is a very laborious process, so I advise you to buy already raised seedlings. Planting them is very easy. Dig a small pit with a shovel and put the seedling in it so that its central part is level with the earth. Then cover the roots with earth and flatten it with your hands. Water it immediately upon planting (0.5l of water per seedling). Watering is necessary every 7-10 days, until the seedling perks up.

Black strawberry

In China the so-called black strawberry was bred, and its seeds can be freely obtained via the internet. In reality, its fruit aren’t black but very dark violet instead. It is remarkable that no genetic modifications were used in creating this breed.

White strawberry

“Pineberry” is white a strawberry that tastes like pineapple. South Africa is home to this unique breed. Dutch farmers saved this breed, which was at the brink of extinction. Ripe fruit of the “pineberry” are white with red seeds.

Ema Tukhiashvili

"Kviris Palitra"

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