It is considered that it is extremely difficult to grow a berry like strawberries on one's own: it requires suitable conditions, good care, fertilizer, frequent watering and much more. But most importantly, most gardeners in Russia consider the climate of their region unsuitable for the cultivation of sweet berries. To date, breeders have brought dozens of varieties that are distinguished by unpretentiousness to weather conditions, the composition of the soil and do not require much attention from the gardener. One of these species is the elephant variety. This strawberry is a great option for beginner summer residents, as well as for those who live in cold regions.
A detailed description of the Strawberry Elephant variety, photos and reviews about it can be found in this article. Here you will learn about the advantages of resistant strawberries, some of its drawbacks and how to properly grow the Elephant variety in a temperate climate.
Characteristics of large-fruited species
The elephant strawberry variety is relatively young - it was selected at the end of the last century. Scientists from the Siberian Research Institute were engaged in breeding a new species, so it is not surprising that the main advantage of the Elephant variety is its strong frost resistance.Attention! Elephant Strawberry is not repairable, the harvest of this berry is formed only once per season.
Full description of the elephant variety:
- terms of ripening berries - medium;
- bushes are powerful, well-branched, upright;
- the formation of whiskers is active, the shoots are painted in a pale pink shade;
- breeding Elephant can be seeds, mustache, dividing the bush;
- leaves on the bushes are painted in a saturated green tint, have a slightly concave shape and are covered with silver patina;
- the edge of the sheet is notched;
- inflorescences are painted in white or cream color, flowers of medium size, bisexual (that is, elephant pollinators are not needed);
- peduncles of medium size, spreading, many-flowered;
- strawberries elephant large, the average weight is 20-28 grams;
- the fetus does not have a neck, its shape resembles an egg, in the lower part strawberries are often split;
- outside the strawberry is bright red, the pulp of the berry is also scarlet, dense, the surface is glossy;
- Elephant's taste is characterized as sweet and slightly sour;
- the flavor of the berries is very rich, well pronounced "strawberry";
- the strawberries of this variety perfectly balanced content of sugars, acids and vitamin C;
- tasting evaluation of elephant variety fruits is 4.7 points;
- strawberry yields are high - about 200 grams per bush or 0.8 kg per square meter (on an industrial scale - up to 90 quintals per hectare of fields);
- the first berries are larger (up to 40 grams) and leveled, the subsequent harvest gives a smaller crop, such strawberries can have any shape;
- the grade is considered unpretentious and resistant;
- The elephant's frost resistance is very good (strawberries winters without shelter even in the central regions of Russia and in some northern regions);
- in conditions of high humidity bushes and berries may be affected by gray rot;
- strawberry is unpretentious to agricultural technology, but for poor care it can “thank” small and sour berries;
- Purpose of the variety is universal: The elephant is good and fresh (as it is considered to be a dessert variety), the berry is suitable for preservation, cooking of preserves, jams and marmalade, tolerates freezing.
Among other things, the Strawberry Elephant perfectly tolerates drought, so it can be safely planted not only in Siberia, but also in more southern and hot areas of the country.
Advantages and disadvantages
If breeders managed to bring the ideal variety, new types of strawberries would no longer appear. The elephant, like the other varieties of sweet berries, has both strengths and weaknesses.
The advantages of this strawberry include:
- large and beautiful berries;
- excellent aroma and pleasant taste of fruits;
- very good frost resistance;
- the possibility of growing in dry and cold regions;
- high yield.
There are Siberian varieties and some disadvantages, among them:
- high risk of strawberry infestation in high humidity conditions;
- strong dependence of the quality of berries on the amount of fertilizer and irrigation;
- dense, not too juicy flesh.
Despite the listed disadvantages, the variety is quite popular not only among private gardeners and summer residents, Elephant cubs are often grown by farmers. Gardener reviews about this strawberry, for the most part, are positive: they love it for its yield and large fruit. A dense berries better tolerate transportation, so great for commercial purposes.
Strawberry Elephant, indeed, is unpretentious variety. But, as mentioned earlier, she is sensitive to the lack of care: the quality and quantity of the crop is markedly reduced.
In order for the elephant strawberry variety to grow the same as in the photo, the gardener must make a lot of effort. And you should start with the proper planting of strawberry seedlings.
The place for strawberry beds is chosen sunny and protected from a draft. It is impossible for the site to be located in a lowland, since moisture may collect there, and for the Elephant her excess is disastrous.Tip! Saplings of high-quality strawberry are better for getting in the checked nurseries or to grow up independently.
Good strawberry seedlings have a healthy appearance, a dense stalk and long branched roots. Suitable for planting plants with 3-4 true leaflets.
You can plant a baby elephant both in spring and in autumn - to choose a suitable time, a gardener must take into account the climate in his region. If the winters are not very harsh, snowy and warm, it is better to plant strawberry seedlings in the fall. So the Elephant will have more chances to go deep into the ground and take good roots. With the autumn planting next season you can wait for the first harvest of large berries.
Attention! The length of the central root of the seedling should not exceed 10 cm. If the roots are longer, they are simply cut with sharp scissors. Immediately before planting, the root system of strawberries is recommended to soak in a growth stimulator or in ordinary water.
A month before planting, ammonium nitrate, humus, and wood ash are introduced into the ground. If the acidity of the soil is increased, it is necessary to reduce it by adding a little quicklime - the elephant does not like soil with a pH level of more than six.
Two weeks later, a strawberry section was dug up onto a spade bayonet, after having previously been sprinkled superphosphate and potassium chloride over it. Now you can make holes for seedlings, leaving a distance of 20 cm between them. The row spacing should be convenient for the gardener, usually leave about 80 cm. It remains to pour the holes with warm water and plant strawberries, compacting the ground around its roots.Tip! After planting, it is recommended to mulch the beds with the Elephant using peat or humus.
Stages of care
Care for elephant varieties need to be carefully and regularly. The main steps in the care of strawberry beds should be the following:
- Frequent and abundant watering, because the elephant loves moisture. Be sure to take into account that excessive moisture can lead to the defeat of strawberry rot. Therefore, watering the bushes is recommended drip systems. Water for irrigation take warm, and choose the evening time.
- To reduce the amount of watering, you must use mulch (straw, humus, peat, sawdust). Mulch will prevent desiccation of the soil, will not allow weeds and pests to multiply. In the autumn, the mulch layer is recommended to be removed and burned, as it can be a source of bacteria and viruses.
- Large strawberries must be fertilized, otherwise the berries will be small and not so tasty. It is necessary to feed the bushes several times per season, while in summer it is recommended to use mineral complexes, and to use organic matter in the autumn-winter period. For Baby Elephant, good dressing with humus, compost, wood ash, potassium phosphate complexes.
- To prevent infection of strawberries with rot and fungal diseases, it is recommended to treat bushes with Bordeaux mixture or copper oxychloride solution. It is better to fight insects with the help of special chemicals. At the stage of the formation of the fruit "chemistry" is undesirable, it can be replaced by folk remedies (for example, vegetable oil + wood ash + vinegar + liquid soap).
- In winter, the elephant bushes are better to be mulched with pine needles. This material perfectly protects the roots from freezing, passes air, allows strawberries to breathe during the thaw period, and does not contribute to the reproduction of insects and infections.
Attention! Since the Elephant variety is distinguished by its powerful formation, strawberry beds can quickly thicken, which leads to shallowing and complete disappearance of fruits. To prevent this, mustache should be regularly removed.
Valentina Ivanovna Most of all in the Strawberry of the Elephant variety was struck by his vitality. Last summer was very rainy and unusually cool. But even in such extreme conditions, the strawberry tied fruit - with each bush we collected a kilogram of berries. Of course, the berries were not very large, and the sweets in them were much smaller than usual, but the rest of the varieties from my garden did not yield a crop at all. Another big plus for the Baby Elephant is his precocity. I planted seedlings in the fall, and as early as next spring enjoyed fresh large berries — for the season, about half a kilogram of strawberries was removed from each bush.
Elephant variety is perfect for those who live in a region with a difficult climate: this strawberry perfectly adapts to both cold and heat, and is able to withstand drought and excessive humidity.
Despite its lack of maintenance, the elephant pleases with abundant crops - during the season good hosts manage to harvest up to 2.5 kg of beautiful and tasty berries from each bush.