To plant and grow strawberry plants is a wonderful way to garden and quite easy when following just a few simple steps.
Here are a few gardening tips that will get your strawberry plants off to the best possible start. Soon you will be enjoying the strawberry fruits of your labor.
Strawberry plants grow best in well-drained soil that has been amended with lots of organic matter. Do not plant strawberry plants in or near soil where eggplants, peppers, potatoes, raspberries, or tomatoes have grown over the past 3 to 5 years, because strawberry plants are susceptible to verticillium wilt. It is also advisable to move strawberry beds whenever verticillium wilt appears. Soils with high lime content may also be unsuitable for this plant. Protect strawberry plants from freezing during the winter months. In addition to mulching, planting your strawberry plants at the top of a gentle slope helps minimize winterkill and frost damage to blossoms.
Always plant strawberry plants in rows or hills in areas that receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Place the plants 15 to 18 inches apart in rows spaced about 2 feet apart. When planting bare root strawberries, be sure to trim the roots to six inches long. Dig holes deep enough to accommodate the roots. Inside the hole, mound enough dirt to be able to have the plant sit on the mound with the roots spread evenly around. The base of the crown should sit at the soil level. If the crown is set too high above the ground, the plant will dry out. Smooth and water to settle the soil. If your plants experience a drought immediately after planting, it may stunt the growth of the plants. Inspect after frost to see if any plants were lifted out of the soil. If they were, gently push them back into the soil and cover.
Once strawberry plants have begun to leaf out, fertilize can be applied. A balanced 10-10-10 blend can be added according to directions on the label. When the plant begins to form blooms until harvest is complete, is the time period that the plants will need the most water. One to two inches of supplemental watering a week may be necessary to keep the plants hydrated. Check the soil for dampness if in doubt.
The first growing year in the ground, pinch off any strawberry blooms. This will force more growth into the plants size, creating larger plants with the potential for more blooms producing more fruit the next growing season.
A member of the rose family, it is documented that strawberries have been enjoyed as a domesticated fruit as early as the 1400’s. Now, we know the nutritional value of strawberries. They contain amino acids and beta-carotene as well as A, C, E, K, B-complex vitamins. An excellent source of calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, copper and zinc, strawberries are high in sugar so should be eaten in moderation.
Some of my favorite ways to enjoy the fruits of strawberry plants are serving on waffles (Yummy!), in a spinach salad with walnuts, in a cucumber & strawberry salad, or served with only a splash of balsamic vinegar. Harvest strawberries in early summer and freeze to preserve them for future use.
Tips for strawberries:
Do not wash berries until ready to eat
Remove caps after washing
Store in colander (or vented container) in refrigerator for air circulation
Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving
To whiten teeth – mash one strawberry and mix with baking soda, brush on teeth and leave on for 5 minutes then rinse
Whether you plant your strawberry plants in a home orchard, vegetable garden or as a ground cover, you’re sure to enjoy the many benefits of the strawberry fruits.