What tastes extra like summer season than a scrumptious strawberry shortcake made with strawberries picked from your individual backyard?
Recent, hand-picked strawberries are a delicacy, and there are such a lot of methods to make use of them — bake with them, flip them into jam, mix them up into frozen cocktails, or simply eat them straight off the vine!
You could be considering to your self, “I don’t have sufficient outside house to develop my very own strawberries.” However strawberries are surprisingly straightforward to develop each indoors and outdoors — so regardless of whether or not you reside on a sprawling multi-acre farm or in a tiny city condo, there’s a technique to make it occur.
Right here’s what you’ll want to learn about the way to plant, develop, take care of, and harvest strawberries at dwelling.
Whereas rising strawberries from seed is an choice (extra on that in a minute), the best technique to develop strawberries, particularly for newbies, is by buying starter vegetation out of your native nursery or dwelling enchancment retailer. It’s also possible to order reside strawberry vegetation and strawberry seedlings on-line from retailers like Bonnie Crops or Burpee.
As you begin looking for strawberry vegetation, you’ll shortly uncover that there are tons of types to select from — actually, there are greater than 100, from tiny Alexandria alpine strawberries to massive, juicy Jewel strawberries!
There are some things to think about if you’re selecting a strawberry selection, together with:
- The place you reside
- How you propose to make use of the berries, as sure varieties are higher for jams or freezing
- Once you need the vegetation to bear fruit — ever-bearing strawberries produce fruit all summer season, whereas June-bearing varieties have one massive crop
- Whether or not you need to produce “runners,” or new strawberry vegetation
The employees at your native nursery ought to be capable of steer you towards an acceptable selection. They’ll additionally carry varieties that can thrive in your native local weather. And, if all else fails, there are quite a few on-line guides to the most effective strawberry vegetation that will help you kind by way of your choices.
When unsure, “Surecrop” strawberry vegetation are a good selection, as they’re hardy and disease-resistant, and produce giant, candy berries. Plus, they’ll develop in most all hardiness zones throughout the U.S. (Take a look at the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map right here.)
If you wish to develop strawberry vegetation from seed, you’ll want to start out them within the winter to provide them ample time to sprout and mature. (West Coast Seeds has a complete information to beginning strawberry seeds.)
A seedling warmth mat can assist to make sure your seeds germinate, and as soon as spring rolls round, your vegetation must be sufficiently big to transplant right into a backyard or rising container. Then once more, should you get a late begin, they might not produce fruit their first 12 months.
After you have your vegetation, it’s time to set them up of their new dwelling.
If you happen to don’t have an outside backyard, it’s no biggie — strawberry vegetation do fairly properly in containers, since they’ve shallow roots. You’ll need to select a pot that has good drainage and fill it with a combination of high-quality potting combine and compost.
There are particular terra cotta strawberry pots that can be utilized each inside or exterior, and so they have holes on the edges the place you possibly can place a number of vegetation. However these planters will be difficult to water, and terra cotta dries out soil somewhat shortly due to its porous nature, so that you’ll must be vigilant about caring on your vegetation.
Stacking planters are one other common choice, as they’re perfect for strawberries, greens, and flowers — simply ensure they’re protected against the wind in order that they don’t blow over.
Strawberries may even develop fortunately in a dangling basket, window field, or common planter. Rising strawberry vegetation in hanging baskets also can assist stop pests which may in any other case have an effect on them at floor degree. (Be gone, slugs and aphids!)
If you wish to enhance your yield and let your strawberry vegetation produce runners, your finest wager is planting strawberries open air in a raised mattress. You may construct raised beds pretty simply, or dwelling enchancment shops promote raised mattress kits that arrange in a matter of minutes.
For strawberry varieties that produce offspring, you’ll need to place vegetation round 18 inches aside — it will give their infants room to develop and root.
Then again, some sorts of strawberries don’t produce runners, and these vegetation will be spaced 6 inches other than one another. Make sure you cowl the roots of every plant in soil however go away the crown, or central rising bud, above the bottom. If you happen to bury the crown, the plant might rot. And that may be unhappy.
Lastly, you may additionally need to spend money on some type of backyard internet to guard outside strawberry vegetation. In any case, the birds love these scrumptious crimson berries as a lot as we do!
As soon as your strawberry vegetation are snug of their new dwelling, they’ll want loads of gentle, water, and fertilizer to thrive. Strawberry vegetation do finest with 8 hours of full solar every day. (They will get by with much less, however you may not get as many berries.)
There’s no hard-and-fast rule on how usually to water your strawberries. Some consultants say strawberries want round 1 inch of water every week, however it is going to actually rely upon the place they’re planted, in addition to the climate.
In case your vegetation are in containers, they’ll must be watered extra often than vegetation within the floor, and also you’ll need to give your vegetation further moisture on scorching, dry days. On the flip aspect, outside vegetation in all probability don’t must be watered if it’s rained just lately. Simply keep in mind: When unsure, it’s higher on your strawbs to be barely dry than soggy.
Oh, and one different tip: For backyard strawberries, a lightweight layer of mulch helps suppress weeds and retain moisture.
Lastly, to extend your berry bounty, feed your strawberries an natural fertilizer that’s made for fruit-bearing vegetation.
Strawberries will ripen round 30 days after their blooms are fertilized, based on Bonnie Crops, after which comes the enjoyable half: harvesting and having fun with your crop!
Decide ripe, crimson berries every morning, and resist the urge to depart them on the vine longer. Ripe berries will rot shortly, in the event that they’re not eaten by birds or different critters first.
Place contemporary strawberries within the fridge for storage, and wash them solely proper earlier than you utilize them. If you happen to wash them earlier than you set them into the fridge, they’re extra more likely to spoil.
Bored with harvesting strawberries solely to have them get gross and mushy earlier than you possibly can put them to good use in a shortcake? Take a look at this vid for a tip that makes them final just a little longer.