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Volume 30 Number 2
APRIL 1, 1920
W. A. McRAE
COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE
Entered January 31. 1003, at Tallahassee. Florida, as secoud-class
matter under Act of Congress of June, 1900.
"Acceptance for mailing at special rate of postage provided for
in Section 1103, Act of October 3, 1917, authorized Sept. 11, 1918."
THESE BULLETINS ARE ISSUED FREE TO THOSE REQUESTING TIrM
T. J. APPLEYAIRD. $TAT' PRINTER
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By H. S. Elliot, Chief Clerk Department of Agricultuwe.
The strawberry belongs to the rose family and certainly
deserves its botanical name, Fragaria (from fragra to
emit a sweet odor), for no other fruit is so delicately
and so exquisitely fragrant. There are perhaps a dozen
species but all are allied to a greater or less extent but
about four, which may be considered distinct species. Of
these, the Fragaria Virginiana, the Virginia or Scarlet
strawberry, is the source of our common wild strawberry,
which is found from the Arctics to Florida, occurring in
a great many localities throughout the country, The
strawberry was apparently known to the Romans, but
only in its wild state. The first mention of the cultiva-
tion is in England in 1483, during the reign of Richard
the Third, but.no improved variety appears to have been
known until about the latter part of the 18th century
after the introduction of the large flowered and the Vir-
ginia Strawberries. With the production of these im-
proved seedlings, as well as hybrids, new varieties in-
dreased rapidly, until at the present time the number is
. The Strawberry is a perennial plant which propagates
itself by sending out runners on which at every few inches
new plants are formed and which take root, and in turn
send out runners. From these newly set plants on run-
ners, new beds are transplanted into whatever form is
desired. In this way the new plants reproduce the parent
Plants may be propogated from seed,, but the plants
obtained this way will rarely' produce the variety from
which the seeds were taken, because of the cross pollina-
tion of the flowers. New varieties are originated by the
planting seed, but other varieties are perpetuated by run-
In a botanical sense the strawberry is not a true fruit,
but belongs to what caii properly be termed the compound
fruits, such as blackberries and raspberries. Some varie-
ties of strawberries produce without stamens, or the
pollen producing (Male) organs, while others produce
perfect flowers, or in other words those containing all of
the essential organs of reproduction. The first of these
are designated as Pistillate Varieties and the latter as.
bisexual. These latter are capable of producing fruit
without the presence of other varieties, while the Pistill-
ate Varieties must be planted in alternate positions with
the bisexual or they cannot produce. To the grower of
strawberries, especially if for market, we therefore sug-
gest that he plant only the perfect varieties.
A variety may be adapted to a certain soil and climate,
and yet, be wholly unsuited under some varying condi-
lions not far distant, where no reason for failure is ap-
parent. One or two degrees of latitude may with some
varieties bring total failure, while with others just the
reverse is experienced; so it is that many varieties that
succeed in the highest degree north of Florida, will pro-
duce practically nothing when attempted to be grown
here and vice versa.
The principal requirements for market varieties or for
private gardens either in Florida are;-
First, adaptability to our climate; second, productive-
ness; third, fair size; and fourth, puality which includes
both flavor and firmness, the latter being positively essen-
tial, that the fruit may be able to stand the rough hand-
ling by transportation companies, so that it may be re-
ceived at its destination in the best condition possible.
Of the considerable number of varieties that will suc-
ceed well in Florida,, we will suggest only a small number
of those apparently best adapted to our soil and climate.
Extra Early-Excelsior and Missionary.
\Early-Improved Lady Thompson, Klondike, Heflin's
Late Varieties-Gandy, Aroma.
All of these are perfect varieties, and by planting a
succession of any of these in the order named, straw-
berries of the very best quality can be had for both for-
eign and domestic markets or home consumption, from
December to June, in the various sections of Florida.
SOIL AND ITS PREPARATION.
The selection of soil and location for the strawberry
farm should be made with a view to furnishing an ample
water supply, for this is the one big thing indispensable
in- successful strawberry culture. It is a very deep rooted
plant, its roots having been traced to a depth of four feet.
Consequently it must have an abundance of water, and
surface watering is impracticable unless artesian water
supply is available, and where the latter condition is ob-
tainable there should be no doubt of the success of straw-
berry culture. But in either case a well drained, deeply
stirred, friable sandy loam or clay loam soil containing
plenty of vegetable matter will be more retentive of mois-
ture and much more easily cultivated and kept free of
weeds and grass. They are the best of all soils for grow-
In the preliminary preparation of soils for the plant-
ing of a strawberry farm, it is well to follow a series of
well cultivated crops, two at least, for instance, corn and
peas, or Irish potatoes and peas, or equally as good oats
followed by peas, to eliminate the-grass and weeds and
place the soil in fine condition. After the peas are cut
for hay, about the first to middle of September or before
October the first, plow under the stubble thoroughly and
then cross it with a good disk harrow so as to pulverize
the soil and cut up any runners that may not le cut in
turning under. Run out the furrows two, three or four
feet apart, as may be preferred, where the strawberries
are to be planted, and in these furrows spread the fertili-
zer; then bed on these furrows and flatten down the beds
with a roller or hoe leaving them slightly elevated or oval
in form, before setting the plants. This will leave the
plants when set slightly elevated above the general sur-
face, making cultivation easier and giving better drain-
age. It is probable that the best distance for the rows to
be apart is three feet and the plants set eighteen inches
apart 'in the row. In small gardens any distance that
suits the grower or the size of the garden will do.
In setting the plants it is generally best to cut back the
roots possibly about one-third. This can be rapidly done
with a good pair of shears. Then in setting out the plants
spread the roots out in a natural position as. near as pos-
sible,, and never crowd them into a small round hole, and
also in covering them be careful not to set so deep that
dirt will get into the crown. Under usual conditions
October is the best month to plant strawberries in Flor-
ida, especially if irrigation, is available.
Land for strawberries cannot be made too rich; all
kinds of decomposed vegetable matter makes good
manure, but weedy manure should be carefully avoided
as it will add to the trouble of cultivation.
The plants should not be permitted to spread Between
the rows, but it does not matter if they run or mat be-
tween the hills of the row; these are the plants to propa-
gate from. It is also well to mulch the ground between
the rows with tine straw or other material, late in the
fall when the plants are growing well, as a protection to
the fruit, keeping it clean or free from dirt or sand, and
this may also be continued into siring,, as sometimes
it is necessary to coverthe plants-as a protection from
As before stated, water is absolutely essential to the
production of fine berries, and it is a waste of energy,
time and money to make poor grades. Ship only the best,
if best prices are desired.
There are three things that are absolutely essential to
successful strawberry culture. They are: plenty of water,
a rich well fertilized soil, and thorough cultivation. If
these cannot be had, strawberry growing for market at
least had better not be attempted.
A good plan is to top dress the plants when they begin
to put out their first new leaves well. This can be done by
sprinkling the fertilizer alongside of the rows close to the
plants and then working it well into the soil about the
plants with rakes. A good fertilizer for this first dressing
should be composed about as follows:
Ammonia ...................4 to 5 per cent.
Actual Potash .................8 to 9 per cent.
Available Phosphoric Acid .... 6 to 7 per cent.
The above should be applied at the rate of about 600
pounds per acre. The next application of fertilizer should
be made as soon as the first indication of bloom is seen,
and it should be applied and worked in as in the prev-
ious instance, at the rate of about 500 pounds per acre.
The second application is to produce the' fruit in prefer-
ence to plant growth, so we suggest a formula for a fer-
tilizer about as follows.
Ammonia ...................3 to 4 per cent.
Potash ...................... 9 to 10 per cent.
Available Phosphoric Acid.... 7 to 8 per cent.
The above fertilizer, or any formula closely approxi-
mating them, can be had already prepared from the var-
ious manufacturers throughout the State. Machines for
the distributing of fertilizer and mixing them with the
soil are also to be had of either the fertilizer manufact-
urers or the hardware or implement dealers in most of
the cities and towns in the State.