What could be more fun than growing your own fresh, delicious strawberries for jams, pies, freezing for winter use, and everything in between? Some gardeners are intimidated by growing their own strawberries but they can be simple to grow, and extremely rewarding, by choosing the right variety for your purpose and following some easy care tips.
Choosing Your Variety
We carry two types of Strawberries: Everbearing and June bearing. June Bearing varieties, such as the Strawberry Earliglow, produce delicious fruit in early spring for about 4-6 weeks. Everbearing varieties, such as Ozark Beauty and Quinault, produce smaller amounts of fruit in multiple, short spurts throughout the spring and summer. It is essential to choose the right type of Strawberry for your needs: If you are looking to make jam and cook with a large amount of strawberries, than the June Bearing variety makes more sense. If you are looking for smaller amounts all throughout the season to make strawberry shortcake or pies, then the Everbearing varieties would be best for you.
Planting and Care
Both Everbearing and June Bearing Strawberries should be planted in early spring, as soon as your soil can be worked. They should be planted in a sunny spot, about 6-8” deep and 18-24” apart, in well-draining, sandy soil. Be careful to keep the crowns just at the soil surface, do not plant too deep, or they might rot, or too shallow as they will heave. Water your plants as much as possible and use an organic fertilizer to feed your plants, if possible. In the first season, remove any flowers that are produced by the plant. This will help the plant produce more, tastier fruits in the next year. Make sure to keep your berry plants weed-free and protect them from severe winter cold by mulching with 3-4” of straw in late fall. Remove this layer of mulch in spring as temperatures warm.
Picking fresh, juicy strawberries directly from your garden in the spring and summer months is undoubtedly worth the care and attention strawberry plants require.