Spotlight On: Strawberries

Summer is every gardener’s favorite time of year. From the beautiful flowerbeds to the delicious crops, it is a gardener’s paradise.  While many gardeners grow lots of vegetables, they shouldn’t forget about fruits like strawberries.

Believe it or not, strawberries are perennials in the Midwest. The great thing about strawberries is that they can be grown in either containers or garden beds.  There are even containers that are made just for them called strawberry jars. These pots have holes on the sides, allowing for the strawberry plants to trail and vine.

No matter where you choose to grow the strawberries, you will need plenty of sun for these plants.  You will also need well-drained soil, which is why pots can be a great spot for these.  They like to be kept moist.  Keep the plants well watered, about 2 inches a week for juicer, fuller fruit.

Strawberries grow in a trailing or vining habit. The mother plant shoots off smaller, baby plants, forming a sort of mat when they are planted in the garden.  For this reason, you will need a fair amount of space to dedicate to your strawberries.  Typically, one plant will need about two square feet of space to grow. It’s best to plant them in rows, with each plant being about six inches apart and rows that are 30 inches apart.

It is recommended to mulch around the berry plants after you have planted them.  This not only keeps weeds down, but the soil moist. It is also recommended to fertilize every two or three weeks.  Be sure to use an organic fertilizer, as this is a crop you will be eating.

After a four or five years, strawberries typically need to be replace because the plants produce less and less.  As far as when to harvest your berries, you will want to pick them as soon as they are ripe. Berries are ripening constantly, so the plants will need to be checked every other day.

Overall, strawberries are a prolific crop to grow in your garden, and they are a perennial.  Once planted in your yard, you will have fresh strawberries to snack on year after year.

Christian Goers