Did you know that the strawberries are members of the rose family? Or that the strawberry plant is actually a perennial? Just like all other fruits, the strawberries come with a wide variety of health benefits, so there are more reasons why you should start growing your own.
Growing strawberries in your garden can be really easy – if you inform yourself well and follow the simple rules, you will have your own strawberries on the table.
Scroll along to read about how to grow them and make sure you have plenty of delicious strawberries!
1. Choose a Variety
There are three main varieties of strawberries – June bearing, day-neutral and everbearing. The June-bearing strawberries are also known as short-day strawberries, and with these, you will get one harvest, but every year.
The everbearing strawberries give harvest two or if you’re lucky, three times from late spring to early autumn and last, the day-neutral strawberries produce throughout the whole season, but just small crops.
2. Find a Good Planting Site
Once you decide which variety of strawberries you want to grow, you can focus on the planting site. It’s important to pull out weeds if there are any on the planting site. Make sure you’re planting the strawberries in well-drained soil, and the place should be somewhere where they would get plenty of sunlight. Placing them in a raised bed will be helpful because it will give you more control over the environment they grow in.
3. Plant Strawberries the Right Way
When it comes to the planting part, there are few more things that you need to know. Strawberries want their space, so you need to plant them apart from each other about 4-6 inches apart. The crown of the strawberries should be planted slightly above the soil line, while for the plant, dig a hole 2 – 3 inches deep – make sure it’s enough for the roots to be fanned out in a circle.
4. Plant Enough
How many strawberries you will get depends a lot on the variety you choose to grow. June bearers are usually the most productive and are known for the high quality. To have enough strawberries for a family of four, you will need to plant a 15-foot row of strawberries. Read more info about the matted-row scheme – it allows the daughter plants to root until a two-foot wide mat of strawberry plants grows.
5. Strawberries Need Water
Like every other fruit, the strawberries need to water, so to ensure the best results of growing strawberries, you need to water them regularly. When it’s bearing season, strawberries need at least 1-2 inches of water daily. Because of the shallowness of the roots, it’s important to keep the soil moist but do not over-water it, leading to rotting of the roots. Roots will also rot if they’re not well-dried between watering, and because of this, during fruiting season, don’t water the strawberries in the evenings.
6. Remove the Flowers
The flowering also depends on what variety you grow – for example, the June bearers stop flowering in July. You need to cut off the flowers from every plant during the first growing season. This way, you help the plant to root and grow without any distractions. After the first growing season, let the blooming flowers develop into strawberries.
7. Mulch is Important
Mulching is very important when it comes to growing strawberries because it keeps the strawberries off the ground, and with that, it keeps them away from insects. It also keeps the roots cool, and it preserves the water. You have few mulch options – it can be straw, black plastic, grass clippings, shredded leaves, or pine needles. There’s an advantage of using plastic mulch over organic – the organic encourages slugs.
8. Watch out from Bugs
Snails, slugs, caterpillars, mites are just a few of the bugs that love eating strawberries! Not to mention that diseases affect this delicious fruit too – powdery mildew, grew mold, fungal leaf spot, leathery rot, and wilt disease are just a few that can affect the growth of your strawberries. Mulching will help against this, but you will need to check the strawberries regularly so that you can stop on time whatever that’s affecting them.
9. …And from Birds Too
Bugs aren’t the only creatures that like eating strawberries. Birds and rabbits love it as well! The best way to prevent this from happening is by covering the plants with bird netting or row covers. You should do this after the strawberries are about to form because otherwise, it will prevent them from pollinating.
10. Use Fertilizer
For fertilization of strawberries, you can use a commercial 10-10-10 food or go for organic fertilizers, such as compost tea, molasses, kelp seaweed, to name a few. Just make sure you choose one rich in nitrogen, as it is something that the strawberries really need for their growth. The fertilizer should be applied around the base of each strawberry plant and then water in with about an inch of irrigation.