Ingredients

Directions

Many things in gardening require planning ahead, and in the case of growing your own strawberries this means essentially a full year ahead. This is necessary because strawberries multiply, and the 6 plants you start with this year will be 24 plants next year - assuring you a good supply of this wonderful fruit for the next several years. I started some new beds this year because my old ones had run their course.

Why grow your own strawberries if they require so much planning ahead? Of course they taste better, like everything you grow yourself, but another reason is pesticides. Of the top 10 plants that we eat that contain pesticides, strawberries are number 5 on the list. Those beautiful and delicious fruits that you see in the supermarket are probably full of them, unless they tell you otherwise.

There are two kinds of strawberries available - "June-bearing" plants that will bear fruit in spring or early summer, and "ever bearing" varieties that will bear fruit from early summer until the fall. June bearing varieties will take a year to bear fruit while ever bearing plants can give you fruit the first year. I was going to plant the ever bearing this year but when I bought my plants I was not paying close attention and bought the June bearing again. It just shows how you have to pay attention even when you have been doing this a long time.

Soil Prep

When you prepare your raised bed for the plants, be sure to use an acid type soil. I mix  a generous amount  of peat moss into the soil to help retain water  and acidify the  soil.  I also put a landscape fabric covering over the beds in order to keep down weeds and to better retain the moisture.. The fabric allows water to come through. Then I cover the fabric with straw to help keep the plants cooler. (The straw covering is how strawberries got their name.)

Transplanting

I placed the strawberry plants 2 feet apart, starting 18 inches from the end of the bed. First cut an “X” into the fabric to create an opening for planting. Then dig out a hole with a trowel and carefully insert the plant.

When you first transplant them, make sure that the root ball is good and wet, and bury the plant so that the soil only goes halfway up the crown or center portion of the plant. Many times people bury them too deep.

Like most plants, water them thoroughly with a transplant water and fertilizer mixture the first time. They will look wilted at first but water with just water daily for the first 10 days or so and they will come to life just fine. You also want to keep your strawberry plants well watered throughout the growing season.

“Runners”

“Runners” shoot out from the plants to allow you to multiply what you have. (There are more runners with June bearing than with ever bearing plants.) As runners form from the plant crowns, train along the row and space 6 to 9 inches apart. Press the runner gently into the soil, hold in place with a hairpin, , rock, or cover with about 1/2 inch of soil until roots form. Do not sever the runner from the mother plant for several months. The next year it  will be another fruit bearing plant.

Plants should continue to be productive for at least 2-3 years, but will need to be replaced shortly after that. To get the June bearing plants ready for next year, trim off their old leaves, making sure not to damage the center stalk of the plant.

With favorable conditions, each strawberry plant should produce up to one quart of strawberries.
Planting Strawberries
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