Almost everyone loves strawberries and who can blame them? The low
growing plants produce delicate green leaves, flushes of white flowers
red fruit brimming with natural sweetness and health.
You can eat fresh
strawberries with milk or cream; use them to create homemade syrups,
preserves; or freeze them for a future use. Kids love these berries and
need no encouragement to pop them in their mouths. What better way to
healthy nutrients and antioxidants to a daily diet than with the
luscious, flavorful strawberry?
Basic Strawberry Varieties
The largest berries are produced by the June bearing plants which are
prolific and hardy specimens. These varieties generate only one
crop of fruit over a period of time lasting several weeks. There are
June Bearing plants that produce early in the springtime, some that
produce in the
middle of the season and a few varieties that have late blooming fruit.
If you choose a variety of everbearing strawberries you will be treated
to 2 or 3 berry crops during the year. These plants have fewer runners
(making them good choices for strawberry pots) and smaller berries but
many gardeners prefer them because of the continual production of both
flowers and fruit. You may want to try either the Quinault or Fort
Laramie everbearing varieties.
There are also the Day Neutral strawberries that can produce small to
medium sized fruit throughout the season. If your garden space is
Day Neutral and Everbearing strawberry plants will be a welcome addition
to either gardens or strawberries in pots because these produce only a
runners as they mature. Seascape, Tribute and Tristar are examples of
day neutral varieties.
How To Grow Strawberries
When growing strawberries you should select a site where the plants can
receive full sunlight throughout the day. The area should be a place
soil is well drained and sandy loam is a big plus when you want to
produce a bumper crop of berries.
Strawberry plants prefer to be grown in a site that has more acidity in
the soil. The pH level should be in the 5.8-6.4 range. Do not set
into an area that has recently been home to any tomatoes, potatoes,
peppers or eggplants. This soil could transfer verticillium rot to your
The Best Time To Plant Strawberries
You can set out strawberry plants as early in the spring as possible,
just as long as you can work the soil in your garden bed. June bearing
work best with the matted row system that allows their runners to fill
in the open areas. For Everbearing and Day Neutral plants you can use
system to help achieve maximum production of berries.
Important Care For Strawberry Plants
Mulching and Weed Control
During the growing season you should practice mulching the area in
between the plants with straw. This will help you maintain a cool
the roots and this practice also helps prevent weeds.
If you live in a colder temperature zone you can use a couple of inches
of pine needles or regular
straw to mulch over the crowns of these plants whenever the temperature
drops to 20F or below. Most strawberry growers also appreciate the fact
mulching the plants affords them an easy, convenient way to keep the
berries clean and lifted above the soil.
Although you can use barrier cloths to control unwelcome weeds you
should always avoid the use of black plastic products. Growing
cooler soil and black plastic films will only increase the temperature
of any ground it covers.
Watering and Fertilizing
If you are interested in growing strawberries that are sweet, plump and
juicy you should provide the plants with at least 1 - 2 inches of water
The watering needs for these fruiting plants is critical beginning at
the blooming stage and continuing until the last berry has been
Fertile, rich soil is another important component of a strawberry bed.
You should make sure that you are using a balanced organic fertilizer product at
beginning of the season. This should be applied so that there is a pound
of fertilizer for every 100 square feet of garden soil.
Avoid using too much
fertilizer as it will cause poor berry production and never use any
fertilizer during the late part of the season as it can create new plant
that the frost will damage.
Photo courtesy of tanakawho
Bugs on the Berries: Strawberry Pests and Diseases
Tarnished Plant Bugs, slugs and aphids will sometimes attack your
plants. The aphids can be eliminated with a spray of soapy water. You
can pick the
other insects from your plants with your hands. Having ladybugs and
other beneficial insects living in your garden can help you safely
unwanted bug population.
Birds Love Strawberries Too
Spread closely woven netting over the plants to help discourage birds
from eating too many of your strawberries. Most gardeners will accept
that birds are going to eat some of the garden bounty and simply plant
enough to share with the native wildlife.
Joys of Alpine Strawberries
Alpine strawberries are a low growing variety and these plants are often
used for ground cover or as edible borders that edge paths and
plants produce many smaller berries and an abundance of small blooms.
You can find these nearly maintenance free plants in both red and white
Containers Count: Growing Strawberries In Containers!
Containers such as strawberry pots are another planting option you can
use to house your strawberry plants. Almost any pot or container will be
sufficient because the shallow roots require only a few inches of soil.
Quinault is an excellent plant to be grown in a container due to its
berry production and limited number of runners.
What would you like to see next?