There really isn’t much more summer-y an activity than picking and eating strawberries fresh from the garden. Warm from the heat of the sun, red, they smell wonderful and taste even better. There is something so satisfying about eating your own harvest.
The Mad Scientist’s very own strawberry harvest.
Strawberries aren’t super difficult to grow, but there are a few things which are helpful to know in advance. For one thing – don’t expect berries the first year you plant. You may get a couple, but your second harvest will be much more plentiful.
Strawberries are really kind of cool – they send out a”runner” which put out roots and grow a whole other plant – a “daughter” plant, it’s called. These daughter plants also send out runners, and so on. Strawberries will sprawl over a pretty huge area if you let them, although your first and second generation plants will give you your best yields.
The first year you plant, don’t let the plant send out and grow too many daughter plants, however. It will detract from the very necessary building of a root system in the main plant. Also, if you do happen to see flowers and/or fruit on the plant the first year, it’s really a good idea to pull them and not let them grow – again, it detracts from root building.
The second year, it’s a go! You don’t have to worry about pulling fruit or anything like that – at least, until it’s time to eat! And then, go for broke! Although – interesting fact – it’s a good idea to get berries off the plant at least every 3 days, so the plant can reroute it’s energy to other areas. So yes – you have
an excuse . . . er . . . a reason . . . to be out there picking berries all the time. 🙂
As far as technical aspects – strawberries like a pH of about 5.5 – 7, so they are pretty forgiving. Don’t forget, you can use our pH Up and pH Down to get your soil where it needs to be. It’s also a good idea to begin incorporating compost (use our Compost Tea starter) a couple weeks before you plant.
There are a few different varieties of strawberries, as well, and you can choose depending on your location and the way your summer goes. All these varieties do require 6-10 hours of direct sunlight, though, so make sure to take that into account when you consider placement.
Day-neutral: these berries aren’t sensitive to the length of the day, and will produce runners, flowers, and fruit as long as your temperature remains between 35 and 85.
Everbearing: these berries will produce fruit in the spring and the autumn. You will get berries in the spring from the flowers formed the previous autumn, and the plant will produce flowers during the long days of summer, and fruit in the autumn.
June-bearing: I’m sure you can imagine when you get berries off this plant. These berries are sensitive to the length of the day, and produce buds in the autumn, then fruit the following spring. You’ll see the plant send out runners during the long days of summer.
It’s also a good idea to use row protection (we used a black mesh over ours – you can see in the photo of the Mad Scientist’s berries) to keep birds off your berries!!!
So enjoy! And yes, we’ll be posting recipes for these delicious berries!!!