It’s February, the month of Valentines and red, red, red. What better time to plan for strawberry season? There’s even a National Strawberry day on February 27. Strawberries, you might ask? Why yes. Even if it’s cold where you are, in Florida’s it’s strawberry month.
All right, so you don’t live in Florida and you’re pining for homegrown strawberries. You may need to wait a little while, but the efforts you put in this spring will yield delicious red berries through the late spring and summer months. Here are some tips to prepare for strawberry season:
Where You Can Grow Strawberries
Strawberries are the ideal small space plant. You don’t need a strawberry patch on the ground. If you love strawberries and you have very little room, you can grow them in tiered containers, window boxes, soil-stuffed pallets, tipsy pot planters, and pyramid planters. Everbearing and day neutral strawberries do particularly well in small spaces.
If you don’t have much space but still want to garden we recommend
Your berries will need a place to live. Surprisingly, strawberries are a relatively relaxed crop. They’re not too hungry for nutrients, although they’ll appreciate it if you give your soil a good dose of compost before planting. Like many vegetables and fruits, strawberries like sunshine and well-drained soil.
One of the delights of the world of strawberries is that they don’t have to be a late spring early summer food. They can be a wonderful food for the entire summer! If you’d like a lot of strawberries at once, look for June bearing strawberries. As their title notes, these berries ripen in late spring and early summer. If you’d prefer to have a few periods of strawberry wealth, choose everbearing strawberries. They have several distinct periods of bearing throughout the spring, summer, and fall. If you’d like berries for snacking throughout the summer, look for day neutral varieties that create berries throughout the summer.
You’ll need about twenty-five strawberry plants to satisfy the average family’s appetite, and you’ll need more if you’d like to make jam!
Some plants send out runners: June bearers and day neutral strawberry plants both put out runners. These tiny plants can root and turn into big strawberry plants, making strawberries one of the easiest least expensive plants to propagate.
You can also start strawberries from seed. To do this, give your package of strawberry seeds a “winter” by placing it in the freezer for a month. Take it out of the freezer and let it warm for several hours, then sow the seeds on the surface of some seed starting potting soil. Place this under lights and keep it evenly moist, but not too wet. When the seeds have several true leaves, you can transplant them outdoors. Harden them off by placing them outdoors for progressively longer periods of time until they are ready to go outside permanently.
Strawberries are perennials, which means that they’ll come back year after year. The problem is that after about three years, strawberry plants start to produce fewer berries. This is the time to retire your plants and use some of the many runners that they have produced, installing the new and more productive generation in your garden.
Spring is so sweet, and it’s just around the corner: are you ready with your delicious plans for this year?