If the allure of glistening, jewel-like berries lying during a bed of dark green leaves isn’t enough to convince you to grow strawberries, the homegrown taste will. Garden strawberries are soft, fragrant, and filled with strawberry flavor, and admittedly, taste nothing like commercially grown berries. One taste and you’ll be hooked.
Why not grow your own? Strawberry plants are inexpensive to shop for and are easy to grow. They take up little room within the garden, and in contrast to most fruit, produce good yields within the primary year or two.
WHERE am I able to GROW STRAWBERRIES?
Strawberries are often grown almost anywhere within us and there are varieties adapted to every region. They require full sun, meaning they have a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight every day, with 10 hours being ideal. Strawberries are often planted within the ground or in containers or raised beds. the quantity of space you would like depends on the variability and method of planting you select. About 35 plants will produce enough strawberries for a family of 4.
WHAT sort of STRAWBERRY PLANT SHOULD I BUY?
Strawberries fall under three categories — June-bearing, ever-bearing, and day-neutrals.
June-bearers produce an important crop of flavorful, high-quality fruit in early summer, making them an excellent choice for gardeners curious about making jams. June-bearers create tons of runners and multiply quickly, in order that they generally need the foremost space. Plants got to get replaced after about 5 years aged.
Ever-bearing strawberries don’t really live up to their name. they really produce two crops annually, generally within the late spring and early fall. They produce few runners and are better for containers or small spaces. they typically got to get replaced every 3 years.
Day-neutral berries are the foremost reliable of the three types, bearing fruit from early summer into fall, as long because the temperature stays under 90 degrees F. The drawbacks are that they produce smaller fruit (generally but 1 inch). Like ever-bearing varieties, they work well in containers and wish to get replaced every 3 years.
Can’t structure your mind? Try growing quite one type. Grow a couple of June-bearing plants for canning, but grow day-neutrals or ever-bearing for berries within the late summer/early fall also. ask your state’s local Cooperative extension for recommended varieties.
HOW DO I PLANT STRAWBERRIES?
Choose a sunny location with good air circulation. Strawberries will grow in almost any soil, although they like sandy, slightly acidic soil. Don’t grow them where tomatoes, peppers, raspberries, roses, or eggplants grew recently to scale back the danger of diseases. Lay 2 to three inches of compost on the soil and dig it in to a depth of 12 inches. The compost will lighten the soil, improving drainage, and can also add nutrients.
Plant strawberries in early spring when the soil is soft but dry. Dig holes wide enough to spread the roots out if you’re using bare-root plants. Place the plants within the hole in order that the crown (the area between the roots and therefore the stem) sits slightly above the soil.
The spacing between plants depends on the strawberry variety and therefore the planting method. June-bearers do best planted during a “matted row” on flat ground with many spaces between to permit for runners and “daughter” plants to grow. Ever-bearing and day-neutral varieties are often planted in raised beds or containers and may be planted closer together. Planting in containers will diminish the yield per plant, but they create lovely ornamental plants, albeit you’re not curious about plenty of berries.
HOW DO I look after STRAWBERRIES?
Strawberry plants need many nutrients to grow luscious, juicy berries. Fertilize them after planting with a fast-acting, 5-10-5 fertilizer, consistent with package directions.
Remove all the blossoms for the primary six weeks after planting. This practice might sound heartless but encourages the plants to develop strong roots, allowing better harvests later. June-bearing strawberries won’t produce a crop until the second year after planting.
Mulch strawberries after planting with a 2-inch layer of weed-free straw, untreated grass clippings, or pine needles. Mulches conserve moisture, minimize weed growth, and keep the roots cool. within the winter, cover the strawberry plants with the mulch to guard them. Move the mulch back within the spring when new growth emerges, but keep it available to guard the plants against late spring frosts, which may destroy the crop.
Water new strawberry plants thoroughly immediately after planting, and keep the soil evenly moist throughout the season. Strawberries need a minimum of one inch of water weekly during the summer to supply an honest crop. Water plants more during hot, windy weather or if you’ve got sandy soil.
June-bearing plants in matted rows should be mowed with a lawnmower within one week of the last of the harvest. It sounds strange, but this keeps them performing optimally.