Strawberries, Strawberries, Strawberries

A physician during the 16th century once said, “Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did.” Dr. William Butler

Strawberries are perhaps the fruit which is most commonly grown in the home garden. There are several different reasons why they are so popular with the home gardener. The plants are both inexpensive and very easy to grow. They also take up very little space and will produce fruit the very first season. But perhaps the biggest reason is that they are full of flavor and do not have the cardboard-taste of some of the berries available at the grocery store.

Choosing Your Strawberries

Most people will purchase their strawberry plants in the early spring, anywhere from late March to the early part of May. The bare root plants are less expensive and will do just as well as the potted plants if they are planted early. Bare root plants can also be kept for as long as two to three weeks in the refrigerator if they are left in their plastic bag so they do not dry out. You can plant them as soon as the soil is workable, as frost will not hurt them. If you cannot find any bare root plants, then you should purchase plants that are already established in packs or pots. These are generally available in the late spring to early summer.

Strawberries are divided into two main groups: June-bearing and everbearing. There is a third group, the day-neutral, but it is really a sub-group of the everbearing.

  • June-bearing-These strawberries produce one crop per season in the early summer. They are sometimes considered to be the best choice if you desire to use them primarily to make preserves.

  • Everbearing-These strawberries produce two crops per season, one in the late spring and the second in the fall.

  • Day-neutral-These strawberries produce fruit all summer long. However, their largest crops are produced in the spring and fall. These varieties will produce more total fruit over the course of the season than any of the other types.

There are literally dozens of varieties of strawberries available to purchase. Tomorrow we will discuss how to plant your strawberry plants. What are your favorite strawberry varieties and why?