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One of the things that makes summer more enjoyable is the taste of homegrown strawberries.
Growing up my Mom refused to buy strawberries from the grocery store. I never understood, because all strawberries taste the same, right?
Turns out I was wrong!
I grew up in Oregon where Hood Strawberries (BTW – that isn’t an affiliate link. This is where I bought my strawberry plants from and they were all incredibly healthy) are the berry of choice and what I grew up eating fresh as well as fruit leathers, homemade freezer jam, and other fresh strawberry preserves made from these same delicious variety of strawberries.
Once I had moved out on my own, I bought a package of strawberries from the grocery and it was shocking how bland and dry the berries were.
Adding several different varieties of strawberries into our garden has always been an important perennial fruit my husband and I grow.
Strawberries are very easy to grow in your garden. These fruits are easy to grow as long as there is full sun and you know how to grow them.
If you’re thinking of adding strawberries to your garden, here are a few tips and tricks to help get you started.
Pick The Right Variety
There are three types of strawberries you can choose from:
These varieties produce fruits, buds, and runners continuously if the temperature is between 35 to 85 degrees. Albions are a variety that fall under this and are delicious.
June-bearing or the summer bearing strawberries that produce lots of fruits at one time during June. These are what the famous Hood Strawberries Oregon is known for are.
The everbearing or the perpetual strawberries produce two harvests in a year: Once in June and another one during late summer.
Select The Planting Area
Make sure you know what the best growing conditions are for strawberries.
Strawberries require at least 6 to 10 hours a day of direct sunlight, so choosing the right planting area is important.
These fruits are tolerant of any soil type but they prefer loamy soil. Before you start planting, prepare the soil by applying compost or aged manure.
Make sure that the planting area is well-drained. You can also create a better growing environment for your plants by adding high amounts of organic matter like peat moss, sand, and grit.
If you don’t have enough room in your backyard, you can also use raised beds or pots and containers. If you opt for these options, you need to add an extra inch or two of fresh compost to the surface.
Know When To Plant
The best time to plant strawberries is after the last frost, between the months of March and April.
As soon as the ground is no longer frozen, you can start planting your strawberries. Another thing to wait for is the first rain after the ground thaws out. This ensures that the soil has warmed up enough to plant.
Feeding Your Plants
Applying fertilizer helps your plant reach its maximum potential.
Add a balanced fertilizer to the soil before planting. You can add one or two pounds of fertilizer for every 100 square feet. This will also increase the levels of nitrogen in the soil.
Apply another round of fertilizer to your plants four to six weeks after planting. Make sure to water down the fertilizer to allow it to soak in down to the roots.
However, do not apply fertilizer to your plants in the spring of the fruiting year. Too much nitrogen can produce easily-damaged crops.
Give Them Space
Strawberries need enough space to grow. If you’re planting several plants in rows, make sure to give them enough space in between the plants for them to spread out.
Because strawberries often produce offspring it’s best to plant them at least 18 inches apart to leave room for growth.
Keep your plants well-watered but avoid watering the leaves as it can cause the plants to develop a fungus.
Water down your strawberry plants during dry summers and once it starts to fruit. Water the soil at the plant’s base instead of starting from the leaves.
Give the plants at least 1 inch of water once a week.
One of the problems when growing strawberries can be mold. It can cause the fruits and the plants to rot.
If you spot any affected leaves or rotting fruits, make sure to remove them immediately to prevent the spread of diseases.
Although these plants love warm weather, any temperature higher than 85 degrees can make the plants suffer.
To prevent this, add some shade like floating row covers or cotton-like fabric.
Prevent Pests And Weeds
Strawberries are not immune to pests and weeds. Slugs, sow bugs, and snails are just a few of the pests that are attracted to the fruit’s sweet smell and taste.
To get rid of these pests, check out these natural ways to get rid of slugs. The beer in a small container always seems to work well as long as you keep on top of it.
You can also prevent weeds from growing by placing a black plastic on top of the soil. This will keep the weeds down and will also give the plants a dry and fungus-free place to grow.
Check the area for weeds at least once a week. You can pull them out by hand or by using a hoe. Make sure to remove them from their roots to avoid regrowth.
Applying mulch can retain moisture, prevent the fruits from touching the soil, and control weeds and pests.
You can mulch using organic materials like straw, leaves, or newspaper.
Remove The First Flowers
Pluck off the first flowers. Once you see them appearing, start pulling them out.
Removing the first flowers will give the strawberries a better chance to grow more vigorously. You can take them out by hand or use gardening shears.
Strawberries are one of the most rewarding fruits to plant in the garden. Not only do they taste great, but they also make your garden look pretty and smell great — attracting more beneficial insects to your garden.