How to Grow Strawberries – A Short OC Guide
Strawberries are a wonderful fruit to grow in your garden. They require marginal maintenance, do not take much space, and if you plant the right kind can yield fruit throughout the year.
And that’s all before you get to the fact they are absolutely delicious.
So today we are going to take a look at the best way of growing strawberries and getting a bumper yield from your plants.
The different types of strawberries you can grow
As we mentioned above, there are various types of strawberry plants. The different strains will bear fruit at varying times of the year.
Let’s take a closer look…
June-bearing strawberry plants
As the name suggests, June-bearing strawberry plants will have fruit ready to be harvested during the month of June.
June bearing strawberries such as Fragaria x ananassa, are a very popular choice for garden growers.
(Pro Tip: June bearing strawberries should be planted using the matted row system.)
Garden variety strawberry plants can also be classified as early, mid and late season. This means you can plant seedlings from each classification to extend the length of time you have harvestable, edible fruit.
Everbearing strawberry plants
If you think that everbearing strawberries will yield fruit all year round you will be disappointed.
Quite why they were given such a name is a mystery. The fact is, this type of strawberry plant actually yields just twice a year: once in the spring and once during late summer or early in the fall.
The majority of everbearing strawberry types used today are of the Fragaria vesca species.
(Pro Tip: If planting this variety of strawberry plant you should opt for the hill system.)
Another benefit of the everbearing strain (beyond the double harvest) is the fact they produce less energy-sucking runners that need to be taken care of by hand.
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Choosing the right strawberry variety for your needs
Beyond the seasonal aspect of their harvest, there is a huge variety of strawberry plants to choose from.
Because of this, it is actually best to narrow down your search based on the climate and conditions of where you will be growing them.
To help you choose a strain that is most appropriate to your growing region you can head to this extremely helpful guide on Strawberry.org: Recommended Strawberry Varieties by State
How to plant your strawberries
Okay, so you have read the details above, decided on the strawberry variety you wish to grow, and have taken a visit to your local nursery to buy some for your garden.
It is likely that you have picked up bare-root, dormant plants from the nursery. Alternatively, you may also have bought six packs of plants already potted and growing.
Now it’s time to plant them.
There are three main ways you can go about growing your strawberries:
- In their pots (the best option if space is limited);
- In the ground, (advisable if you have an allocated area in your garden);
- In raised beds (this is a recommended approach if drainage is an issue, it also helps protect the plants from the heat)
As you can see, the methods of planting are closely connected to your individual circumstances.
However, if you have the time and space available we recommend the raised bed as the method to follow.
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Picking off the runners
One of the most important maintenance tasks to ensure a healthy strawberry plant is regularly picking off the runners.
These are the long stems that run off the central plant; if left to grow these will drain essential nutrients away from the main plant and your strawberries.
The simple step of removing runners will allow your plant to flourish where you want it to most; the growth of delicious fruit.
Do not become complacent on this one. Check the plant regularly and cut away those offshoots as soon as you see them.
Dealing with mold
Botrytis is the most common fungus to attack strawberry plants. It actually sets in on the berries causing them to rot before they have reached harvestable size.
The most important issue here is to act fast. Affected leaves and fruit need to be removed immediately in order to prevent the fungus from spreading further along with the plant.
Although strawberries do well in warm weather, the heat is also a great breeding ground for undesirable bacteria.
You should keep a close eye on your plants to ensure that mold does not destroy them.
Pests and Weeds
Just as damaging as mold is the intrusion of slugs, bugs, and weeds. Chemical bait is the best solution here.
On a raised bed you can position your bait in the corner (not too close to the berries). This will attract the pests away from your delicate plants. Be careful with the bait you choose, however, especially if you have pets. (View our recommended slug bait on Amazon here).
Weeds are a different issue and will require a little bit of elbow grease on the part of the grower.
In short, you will need to get out there and pry them up.
And there you have it; a short OC guide to growing strawberries. Follow these tips for a delicious bounty of fruit this year.
Image Credits: Pixabay