By Irum Sarfaraz

Biodynamic gardening is a method of gardening in which the fertility of soil is increased through the use of environmental balance by using double digging, raised beds and the addition of compost. Biodynamic agriculture works by examining the specific relationship between different plants and their environment. This information reveals how plants grow optimally when placed next to certain plants and not to others. To harvest strawberries biodynamically, the dormant plants need to be planted in early spring after the weather has stabilized, and it is important not to delay the planting.

Biodynamic gardening is much like organic gardening. It is a holistic plant growth system pioneered by the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who believed that the relationship of the plant in question with other plants as well as with its environment is crucial for optimal growth. For instance, strawberries grow best when grown next to green beans, while onions are not favorable to the growth of green beans. Similarly, tomatoes have a narcissistic temperament. They like to be planted alone and prefer a compost made with tomato plants.

The best time to plant biodynamic strawberries is in early spring after the weather conditions are stabilized and settled. It is not advised to wait until late spring or early summer because dormant strawberry plants will not survive for so long.

When choosing a site to cultivate strawberries, avoid the soil that has been intensively cropped, because such soil has often lost a great deal of fertility. Many physical properties and tilth of the soil are also impaired in repeatedly cropped sites. Also avoid planting strawberries in soil that has been used for solanaceous crops such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers, for at least four to five years. Making sure the soil is right helps to curb occurrence of root diseases such as verticillium wilt and black root rot.

Though strawberries do best in soil high in organic content, this soil is also likely to be rich with white grubs that have a partiality for strawberry roots. Hence, if planning to plant in areas that have been in sod, make sure that the sod is turned and spaded once per year before actual planting.The recommended soil for biodynamic strawberry growing should not only be rich with organic matter but should also be well drained yet able to retain moisture.

The soil pH should be between 5.7 to 6. Prepare your soil well before the planting in order to attain the right level of fertility, soil structure and organic matter. Preparing ahead of time also ensures proper riddance of weeds and pests.