BY UMAR NSUBUGA
Strawberries are in a number of varieties like black, blue or red raspberries. There are also boysenberries and strawberries.
Joseph Bukenya, who grows vegetables, says berries make excellent shrubs and hedges. “They can also be grown as foundation plantings along your house or as an informal hedge in the backyard,” he says.
Some types of berries have thorny characteristics, which when planted along the fence or wall or as a hedge, can keep away intruders such as cats, dogs and wildlife. They can grow in every garden and do not require a lot of care. A strawberry plant takes three months to mature. According to Bukenya, if you give your strawberries too much fertiliser, it may hurt their production. “Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium (NPK) fertilisers are generally formulated for specific growing purposes. Using fertilisers that are of the wrong concentrations for strawberry plants, or even using way too much of an appropriate fertiliser can decrease strawberry production. Often, the fertilisers cause excessive vegetative growth at the expense of strawberry production,” he says.
During the three months of waiting before harvesting, Bukenya prunes the old leaves, weeds his plants and waters them. Growing strawberry seedlings in the nursery before transplanting them in the compound can be good for them. “If you uproot a single seedling with soil from the nursery and plant it directly, it will take two months to mature, unlike the three to four months it takes if planted directly into the soil or polythene bag when the roots are too young,” Bukenya advises.
There are a host of strawberry pests and pathogens that literally suck the life out of strawberries. If your strawberries have an infection or infestation, they may simply be too sick to produce strawberries.