How to Grow Strawberries
by Linda Paquette
In addition to the traditional strawberry patch, there are as many
ways to grow strawberries as there are to eat them! Grow strawberries
in a bed, hydroponically, as a ground cover, as an ornamental patio
plant, or in a hanging basket.
An important part of knowing how to grow strawberries is understanding
how different types of strawberries grow. Strawberry cultivars are
placed in one of three categories.
June bearing strawberries produce a large, voluptuous crop of berries
in late spring. Mother plants send out runners (daughters) that root
and develop into matted rows. The disadvantage to June bearing
strawberries is 1) they only bear fruit once a year and 2) the first
year you need to pluck all blossoms from your plants to let them
become firmly established.
Ever bearing strawberries really arenít ever bearing, but do produce
a harvest twice a year, once in spring and again in autumn. During the
first year, pluck all blossoms from ever-bearing cultivars through the
end of June. After that, they will blossom again and set fruit for a
Day neutral strawberries frequently produce a crop of small, but very
sweet berries throughout most of the growing season. After plucking
off the first set of blossoms allow the fruit to set and youíll have
strawberries throughout the summer!
The Versatile Alpine Strawberry
The Alpine Strawberry is a cousin of the wild strawberry and is very
much at home lining a path or walk way. In fact, the only strawberry
that is regularly started from seed, the Alpine strawberry is a day
neutral cultivar that makes an excellent ground cover with headily
fragrant blossoms and very tasty red or white strawberries.
The Alpine Strawberry reseeds profusely from its own strawberry seeds
and bears fruit throughout the growing season.
Buying Strawberries for Transplanting
The best time to purchase strawberry plants is autumn. Find end of
season plants at dirt-cheap prices or order new plants for spring
delivery. In addition, your nursery may offer wholesale strawberry
plants packed in bundles containing as few as 25 plants. Nurseries
have limited space and often take orders for wholesale plants on a
first-come, first-served basis. Frequently, their stock is depleted
long before spring.
Most strawberry cultivars over-winter if kept cool in a root cellar,
unheated garage, or basement. For extra protection, cover roots with
sand, wood shavings or soil. Ordering or purchasing strawberry plants
in the fall ensures that youíll have them for spring planting!
Thirty plants provide enough strawberries for a family of four. Select
your plants carefully and purchase only virus-tested transplants.
Plant strawberries in the sunniest spot you can find. Although you can
get a harvestable crop with as little as six hours of direct sunlight
per day, the largest harvests and best quality berries come from those
plants that get the advantage of full sun.
The shallow rooted strawberry plant is poor competition for weeds,
shrubs, trees, or other plants. Till a garden bed in the fall to
eliminate a lot of the weeds that cause problems during the growing
season. Choose a spot away from large trees, which may send roots into
your strawberry bed. Also, be sure to locate your strawberry bed away
from any spot where you have grown peppers, tomatoes, eggplant or
potatoes. These plants can harbor verticillium wilt, which is
devastating to strawberries.
Although strawberries wonít thrive in saturated ground, they do need
a moist environment. Amend soil with a good supply of nutrient rich
organic matter to both improve aeration, drainage, and increase
moisture-holding capacity. In the spring, as soon as the frost is out
of the ground and the soil is workable, till your bed again. Now you
are ready to set your strawberry plants. The second and third part of
this howto on strawberries is available on our site
Linda is an author of
Gardening Tips Tricks and Howto`s of Gardening Guides and the
Lawn Care section of the Lawnmower Guide.