These plants weren’t just an impulse buy. To prepare for our new arrivals:
* I prepared the bed and enriched the soil last year. See Clearing the Way for Strawberries by the Patio.
* I read about strawberries in a number of books. One recent book was: The Backyard Berry Book.
* I waited for spring to come. Although the books indicated that I could have planted sooner, it didn’t feel right until May came.
I decided to plant two varieties of strawberries: June-bearing and everbearing. I am hoping that the June-bearing crop (Allstar) allows us to have a nice harvest all at once, while the everbearing fruits (Ozark Beauty) will be fun for the kids to snack on when we’re playing outside. Since this is the first year, I’ll need to remove the flower buds from the June-bearing strawberries to encourage the roots to be established well. For the everbearing strawberries, I read that I could remove the flower buds until July 1st and then allow the plants to flower and produce fruit after that.
Here are some other strawberry growing tips that I’ve read:
* When planting the new strawberry plants, choose a cool, cloudy day.
* Planting depth is important for the strawberry’s crown. Not too deep, not too high.
* Add a light mulch, such as straw.
* Make sure the plants get one inch of water per week. If the rain isn’t coming, watering in the morning is best.
* Keep the beds well weeded.
* After harvest is finished for June-bearing plants, mow off the foliage (don’t damage the crown) to prevent leaf diseases and encourage strong plant growth.
* Berries appear ripe one month after blossoms have started to appear.
* Pick strawberries with the stems and caps on and place them in a shallow container (3-4 layers deep). Morning is the best time to pick strawberries.
* Refrigerate strawberries as soon as possible after picking and don’t wash them or remove the caps until use.
* Strawberries are ok for 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
* If there are moldy or rotted strawberries, dispose of them away from the strawberry plants.
I am hopeful that we will have a nice crop of strawberries next year.