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How to Grow Strawberries
By Monica Resinger
Mmmmmmmmm. There's nothing like a sun-ripened, freshly picked strawberry.
Warm, sweet and juicy. Growing your own will offer you a sweeter strawberry
because it is allowed to ripen on the plant. You will also know how it was
(no pesticides, etc.). Children often like growing strawberries, well, because
they like strawberries! Here are some pointers on growing and using them.
Strawberries grow 6-8 inches tall spreading about one foot across with long
runners. Their white, sometimes pink (depending on the variety) flowers turn
into luscious strawberries that we can enjoy fresh, put into desserts, make
or freeze and use later.
In mild winter areas, planting season is late summer or fall. These plantings
will produce a spring crop of strawberries. In other areas, plant
strawberries in early spring. Everbearers will produce a summer and fall crop.
When planting strawberries, be sure the crown is above soil level and the
topmost roots are 1/4 inch beneath soil level because buried crowns rot and
exposed roots dry out. Use mulch to keep berries clean, conserve moisture and
weed growth down. Set plants 2-3 feet apart and let runners fill in until
plants are 7-10 inches apart.
Strawberries like well drained fairly rich soil, so be sure to add compost or
other organic matter when preparing the strawberry patch. They need full sun,
and frequent, deep soakings. Be sure to give adequate water during bearing
season. They will grow in all zones and should be fed twice a year -- when
growth begins and after the first crop. Use a complete fertilizer high in
phosphorous for feedings.
June bearing types produce one crop per year in late spring or early summer.
Since this type gives you all the fruit at once, it's best planted for reasons
of preserving or freezing.
This type of strawberry tends to peak in early summer and continue on through
the fall. This is the type to plant if you want fresh berries all season
Most strawberries produce offsets at the end of runners. If you want more
plants, just let them grow. If you have enough strawberry plants, pinching off
the runners will give you larger plants with small yields of big berries.
If your children are interested in growing strawberries, you can let them
plant and care for the whole patch, or just one or two plants if the patch is
much for them. Strawberries will also grow in containers, so this is another
option that is less work for children. Remember that container plantings need
much more water than in the ground plantings, usually once a day; if it's hot,
twice. Be sure to let them help you with the fun part -- harvesting and
making delicious things to eat with them.
For more gardening inspiration, check out The Gardening Tips E-book. You'll
learn about compost, starting new plants, rose care & tips, whimsical planter
ideas & yard decor, raised bed gardening, garden recipes, plant
recommendations, pond care, and much, much more! Click here for details:
Get Monica's FREE e-zine for homemakers! Each issue includes a home & garden
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