Growing Strawberries: Fresh Homegrown Fruits

Recently I picked up everbearing strawberry plants. I hadn’t planned on growing strawberries but the price of berries keeps rising and I am concerned with the chemicals larger farms use in production. I also found them at a greenhouse auction and could not turn them down.

I have heard berries can be rather difficult to grow but I also heard if you set up the planting bed properly they are easy to grow. So we will find out.

There are many varieties of strawberries but they fall with in within three main type categories: June Bearing, Day Neutral and Everbearing. I have the everbearing variety and the plants are very healthy.

For my new garden I have decided on a round raised bed, first to be one layer than later to be a tiered garden. I rounded up some free bricks up at the neighbors and have selected a sunny area with abundant sunshine.

I also chose an area with a slight slope to help with drainage. Note: The planting area should not be a place where other crops have grown, such as eggplants, tomatoes, peppers or potatoes, because they are sources of root rot fungi that can kill strawberries.
 
I f you are selecting a new area you need to make sure the grass and weeds are dead. Since my plants need to go in the ground as soon as possible and I can’t wait two weeks for the grass to die off I am covering the area with cardboard to choke the weeds. By using bricked and a raised bed will build a fresh soil bed that has the proper fertilizer needs for strawberries.

I will add old manure, compost and leaf mold and stir well. I will also check the soil to make sure it has a pH between 5.7 and 6.3. I know that I will have to add some limestone to the mix, as my areas soil is always acidic.

Note: Make sure you buy your plants from a reputable nursery or greenhouse to ensure your plants are certified as disease-free. There is no sense bring home plants that are sure to die or produce poorly.

My plants will go in the ground tomorrow and when I plant them I will dig the hole 1.5 times larger than the plant’s roots. After I place the strawberry plant in the hole I will fill in the hole with soil to secure the plant and firm the soil in place.

Tip: If you are planting multiple strawberry plants, place them in a row, leaving about 18 inches between each plant. The rows should be 3 to 4 feet wide.

My plants will be placed 18 inches apart in the circle and this summer the center will be left open. I may possibly place flowers or a piece of garden art in the center for color and fun.

I will water the strawberry plants once they are planted and give them a boost of manure tea to help with transplant shock.

Tips:

  1. It’s important to water the plants on a weekly basis with approximately 1 to 2 inches of water. This will give you juicy strawberries.
  2. The most important thing to watch out for with strawberries is root rot fungi, which can be prevented with healthy soil, good drainage and sun.

To me strawberries bring back childhood memories of summers and parties. We always had fresh homemade biscuits and ice cream topped with locally grown strawberries.

Tags: growing strawberries, preparing a strawberry bed, properly prepared soil, healthy strawberry plants

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Denise

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