Garden strawberries are widely grown hybrid species of the genus Fragaria, collectively known as strawberries, that are cultivated worldwide for their fruit. The scientific name of this strawberry fruit is Fragaria × ananassa. The fruit is widely appreciated for its characteristic aroma, bright red color, juicy texture and sweetness. It is consumed in large quantities, either fresh or in prepared foods such as jams, juices, pies, ice creams, milkshakes and chocolates. Artificial strawberry flavors and fragrances are also widely used in products such as candy, soap, lip gloss, perfume and more.
The garden strawberry was first bred in Brittany, France in the 1750s through a cross of Fragaria virginiana from eastern North America and Fragaria chiloensis, brought from Chile by Amédée-François Frazier in 1714. Commercial production, the woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca), was the first strawberry species cultivated in the early 17th century.
Botanically, strawberries are not berries. Technically, it is a gross accessory fruit, meaning that the fleshy part is obtained not from the ovary of the plant but from the receptacle containing the ovary. Each apparent “seed” (achene) on the outside of the fruit is actually one of the flower’s ovaries, which contain a seed inside.
Also worth noting is that the word strawberry probably comes from the Old English strawberries because the plant sends out runners that can be compared to pieces of straw. But others associate their name with the practice of mulching strawberries with straw or growing wild in matted straw or straw.
The first garden strawberry was grown in Brittany, France, during the late 18th century. Prior to this, wild strawberries and cultivated selections from wild strawberry species were the common source of the fruit.
The strawberry fruit was mentioned in ancient Roman literature in reference to its medicinal use. The French began taking the strawberry from the forest to their gardens for harvest in the 14th century. Charles V, France’s king from 1364 to 1380, had 1,200 strawberry plants in his royal garden. In the early 15th century western European monks were using the wild strawberry in their illuminated manuscripts. The strawberry is found in Italian, Flemish, and German art, and in English miniatures. The entire strawberry plant was used to treat depressive illnesses.
By the 16th century, references of cultivation of the strawberry became more common. People began using it for its supposed medicinal properties and botanists began naming the different species. In England the demand for regular strawberry farming had increased by the mid-16th century.
However, historians believe that the strawberry plant was first found in ancient Rome in 234 BC and was commonly used for medicinal purposes. Europeans first discovered strawberries in America in 1588.
Strawberry cultivars vary widely in size, color, flavor, shape, degree of fertility, season of ripening, liability to disease and constitution of plant.On average, a strawberry has about 200 seeds on its external membrane. Some vary in foliage, and some vary materially in the relative development of their sexual organs. In most cases, the flowers appear hermaphroditic in structure, but function as either male or female.
For purposes of commercial production, plants are propagated from runners and, in general, distributed as either bare root plants or plugs. Cultivation follows one of two general models—annual plasticulture,or a perennial system of matted rows or mounds. Greenhouses produce a small amount of strawberries during the off season.
The bulk of modern commercial production uses the plasticulture system. In this method, raised beds are formed each year, fumigated, and covered with plastic to prevent weed growth and erosion. Plants, usually obtained from northern nurseries, are planted through holes punched in this covering, and irrigation tubing is run underneath. Runners are removed from the plants as they appear, to encourage the plants to put most of their energy into fruit development. After harvesting, the plastic is removed and the plants are plowed into the ground. Strawberry plants produce more and better fruit when they are young. After a year or two, they decline. Replacing them annually improves yields and enables denser planting. However, this necessitates a longer growing season, for the plants to establish themselves. It also costs more to annually purchase plants, form new mounds, and cover them with (new) plastic.
The other major method retains plants for multiple years. This is most common in colder climates. The plants are grown in rows or on mounds. This method requires lower investment and lower maintenance, overall. Yields are typically lower than in plasticulture.
Another method uses a compost sock. Plants grown in compost socks have been shown to produce significantly more flavonoids, anthocyanins, fructose, glucose, sucrose, malic acid, and citric acid than fruit produced in the black plastic mulch or matted row systems.Similar results in an earlier study conducted by USDA confirms how compost plays a role in the bioactive qualities of two strawberry cultivars.
Strawberries may also be propagated by seed, though this is primarily a hobby activity, and is not widely practiced commercially. A few seed-propagated cultivars have been developed for home use, and research into growing from seed commercially is ongoing. Seeds (achenes) are acquired either via commercial seed suppliers, or by collecting and saving them from the fruit.
Strawberries can also be grown indoors in strawberry pots. Strawberries won’t grow indoors in winter unless aided by a combination of blue and red LED lights. In southern lands, such as Florida, winter is the natural growing season and harvesting begins in mid-November.
*But in our India, the season in which strawberries are grown is –
Mahabaleshwar strawberry is a seasonal fruit that lasts from October-November and April-May.
Basically the thing to know is that Satra district is famous for producing 80% of strawberries in the country. The fruit is mainly grown in Mahabaleshwar, Y and Panchgani areas. The Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar belt contributes about 85% of the country’s total production. The rest comes from Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, which help reduce the risk of serious health conditions like cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. It’s also an excellent source of: Magnesium. Phosphorous. Strawberries even improve skin health.