The Fertiliser Requirements For Growing Organic Strawberries

Strawberries are a relatively easy crop to produce as long as you have the right climate and can provide plenty of the right fertilisers. However, choosing to use organic production methods to increase the value of your fruit makes production slightly more complicated. Choosing the right organic fertilisers allows you to keep your strawberries growing all year round, both during berry production season and the rest of the year.

Pine Needle Mulch

Pine needles are not technically a fertiliser, but they still play an important role in enriching the soil for reliable organic strawberry growth. Mulch in general produces cleaner and healthier fruits at harvest by reducing mould, physical damage and dirt transfer. Pine needles in particular can be found with organic certification and help gently push the soil to the acidic side of the pH scale. Strawberries prefer slightly acidic soil, just like blueberries and many other perennial fruit crops, and using pine needle mulch can prevent the need to apply lime and other chemical agents to alter the pH of the soil. You can either do the mulching yourself or hire a professional. 

Aged Manure

Strawberries grow best after receiving two light doses of nitrogen per year. Apply the first dose before fruiting begins and the next later in the year before the plants go dormant for winter. Aged animal manure produced in an organic system has plenty of nitrogen to assist the green growth of strawberries. Nitrogen may trigger the development of new runners, so be prepared to have the plants trimmed in the weeks after manure application.

Blood Meal

Blood meal is one of the most affordable forms of nitrogen for organic growth due to its efficacy. At this rate, a small portion is needed per a full application to the rows. Most forms of organic nitrogen fertiliser are very slow to release nutrients. If not, it has a chance to burn the plants. Blood meal won't burn sensitive plants but does release nitrogen relatively quickly to get growth started right away.

Bone Meal

Even if you apply manure or blood meal for nitrogen, you will also need an organic source of phosphorous to support strong flower development and fruit set. Phosphorous also encourages better root growth, leading to stronger plants that can better handle disease or pests. Bone meal is the best source of phosphorous in an organic growing system. It releases the nutrients slowly, so it should be applied early and when a strawberry field is first established so the plants have plenty of time to absorb it.