How To Grow Strawberries

We love sweet juicy strawberries. In fact, the kids can go through a full case is a day or two. It helps to cut our costs by growing a lot of our own food. We love to gather strawberries when the spring sales start to stock the pantry with homemade strawberry jam but for summertime snacking or whipping up some easy strawberry pancakes, nothing beats growing our own strawberries.

While we are dying for the strawberries in the garden to come back to life we have been really enjoying the $1 a pound sales of strawberries this month which may be making us dream of our summer garden even more.

Why grow your own strawberries?

Strawberries make a great addition to gardens because they will come back year after year. These fruits are fresh, juicy, and the perfect treat right out of the garden. They can even be companion planted with spinach to help protect your berries from birds.

Where can you grow strawberries?

Strawberries are easy to grow. They love the sun but can handle a bit of shade. They grow well with mild greens like spinach or herbs like mint for companion planting. They love containers and if you have a quality grow light or a sunny south-facing window they can even handle growing indoors.

What types of strawberries can you grow?

There are several different types of strawberries that you can grow in your garden or in containers, including:

June-bearing strawberries

These are the most common type of strawberries and produce a single large crop in late spring to early summer.

Everbearing strawberries

These strawberries produce smaller crops throughout the growing season, with the largest crop in late spring to early summer.

Day-neutral strawberries

These strawberries produce small crops continuously throughout the growing season, and are great for gardeners with limited space.

There are also different varieties of each type of strawberry, with varying characteristics such as flavor, size, and color. Some popular varieties of strawberries include:

Chandler – A popular June-bearing variety with large, sweet fruit.

Seascape – A popular everbearing variety with large, firm fruit and a sweet, juicy flavor.

Albion – A popular day-neutral variety with large, firm fruit and a sweet, juicy flavor.

Jewel – A popular June-bearing variety with medium-sized fruit and a sweet flavor.

Tristar – A popular day-neutral variety with small to medium-sized fruit and a sweet, aromatic flavor.

When selecting a strawberry variety to grow, consider factors such as your climate, available space, and personal preferences for taste and texture.

How to grow strawberries from root

The easiest way to grow strawberries is from roots. These roots can be found in many garden centers in the spring. If you can not find already leafed plants look for bagged bare strawberry roots. Plant your roots in quality soil and keep them watered.

How to grow strawberries from seeds

Growing strawberries from seed takes longer. In the first year, you will not see much if any production. You can buy strawberry seeds online or collect seeds from organic strawberries. Remember when collecting seeds from your food that you need organic to get seeds that will produce.

How to grow strawberries in a garden bed

The best place to grow strawberries is in a large garden bed. A few strawberry plants will multiply and fill a large garden bed in just a couple of years. I suggest a raised bed that is separated from your lawn as strawberries tend to run a bit wild and could care less about where they go.

If your family loves strawberries consider giving them a garden bed. Place at least half a foot between plants and allow for natural spread. The first year it is easy to grow spinach along with your strawberries.

How to grow strawberries in pots

For smaller gardens or easier to manage strawberries container gardening is a great idea. Strawberries rot is left to sit in the soil so container gardening allows you to hang the berries over the side of your pots helping to make them easy to maintain. For growing strawberries in pots look for long thin planters like window boxes or using a vertical planter.

How to protect your strawberry plants from rot

One common issue when growing strawberries is that they tend to rot very easily. When watering your strawberry plants make a point to water at the base to lessen issues with waterlogged leaves. Strawberries need a lot of water so consider using a watering globe if growing your strawberries in pots to make them easier to maintain.

To keep your fruit from rotting you need to keep the berries up off of the wet soil. In planters, the best way to do this is to hang the berries offer the edge of your planner. For large garden beds, mulch is your friend. Mulch or straw allows the berries to rest on the ground while keeping them dry and healthy so your berries do not rot before they are ready to pick.

Protecting your strawberry plants from birds

Birds are one of the biggest issues when growing strawberries. This is an easy issue to deal with if you find that your neighborhood birds are enjoying your strawberries before you can. You can use tricks to scare birds from your garden like placing up a string of cans that will clank in the wind or pull out the big guns and get some bird netting to protect your garden.

Protecting your strawberry plants from bugs.

Ants, slugs, and other pests love sweet juicy strawberries. One thing to be mindful of for protecting your strawberries is that if the berry begins to rot they will attract insects.

Keeping your berries up off the ground with a layer of mulch or straw and harvesting ripe berries often before their fragrance can alert ants to their presence is the best way to protect your berries from bugs. You can use simple bear traps to help deal with slugs and snails after your berries.

How to grow more strawberries

While this may be sad to hear the best thing you can do to grow more strawberries is to take off all of the flowers in your first year. This will let the roots become more established and give you a much larger harvest in your 2nd year.

How to pick strawberries

Sweat Summertime Strawberry Jam

When picking strawberries, it’s important to handle them gently to avoid bruising and damaging the fruit. Here are the basic steps to picking strawberries:

Look for ripe strawberries

When strawberries are ready to be picked, they will be bright red and fully ripened. They should also be slightly soft to the touch. Avoid strawberries that are still green or white, as they are not fully ripe.

Hold the stem

Grasp the stem just above the strawberry between your thumb and forefinger. Be careful not to squeeze the fruit.

Twist and pull

Give the strawberry a gentle twist and pull it away from the plant. Don’t pull too hard, as you may damage the plant or the fruit.

Check for any damage

After picking, examine the strawberries for any damage or signs of rot. Remove any damaged berries to prevent them from spoiling the rest.

Rinse the strawberries

Before eating or storing the strawberries, rinse them gently in cool water to remove any dirt or debris.

It’s best to pick strawberries in the morning when the fruit is cool and dry. Avoid picking strawberries on hot, sunny afternoons, as the fruit can become soft and easily bruised in the heat. It’s also important to harvest strawberries regularly to ensure that they don’t become overripe or spoil on the plant.

How long does it take strawberries to grow

Strawberries typically take 3-4 weeks to germinate, and then another 4-6 weeks to produce fruit after that. The exact time it takes for strawberries to grow can depend on several factors, including the specific variety of strawberry, growing conditions, and climate.

What PH level should your soil be for strawberries?

The ideal soil pH for growing strawberries is between 5.5 and 6.5. Soil that is too acidic (below 5.5) or too alkaline (above 6.5) can result in poor plant growth, reduced fruit production, and nutrient deficiencies. It’s important to test your soil pH before planting strawberries and make any necessary adjustments to ensure the pH falls within the ideal range.

You can test your soil pH using a soil test kit or by sending a soil sample to a testing laboratory. If your soil is too acidic, you can add lime to raise the pH. If it’s too alkaline, you can add sulfur or other acidifying agents to lower the pH.

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We are looking forward to a bountiful harvest out of the homestead garden. Are you growing strawberries this year?

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