Everything You Need to Know to Grow Organic Strawberries
Imagine each morning walking out your door to pick bowls full of ripe, juicy, red strawberries. Having strawberries in your home garden can be such a fun and tasty addition. The ease of growing strawberries makes them a great choice even for the new gardener. Strawberries are great in salads, jams, pies, or eaten plain.
Here is everything you need to know to grow bountiful amounts of organic strawberries.
There are 3 Types of Strawberries
The three types of strawberries are June-bearing, Everbearing, and Day Neutral. Each type is a little different.
The June-bearing strawberry plants will provide your home garden with the most flavorful berries, but you will have to wait one year to get them and they produce one large crop when you do. They will be one of the first plants in your garden to harvest too. It is recommended that you cut off the flowers of these plants the first year to help ensure a huge crop the following year. This can be hard when you are so excited to enjoy your fresh fruit. June-bearing like to be planted in matted rows. These are a great choice for the gardener that is looking to have all the strawberries ripe at one time to make jam.
So if that’s the case, planting Everbearing or Day Neutral strawberries might be right for you. The Everbearing strawberries and Day Neutral will produce two main crops each year. They will produce fruit the first year and like to be planted on hills. These plants will flower and fruit constantly all summer long.
Planting Strawberries: Leave alone, matted rows or hills
- Leave Alone
While some gardeners like to prune their strawberry plants or cut the runners to save energy, it’s important to realize they are just suggestions. You can plant your strawberry plant and just leave it to grow on its own.
If you choose to grow your strawberry plants this way, make sure to have a lot of room as they love to spread like crazy. You will be shocked at how fast and how many plants will grow from one strawberry plant.
- Matted Rows
You can choose to place your strawberries in matted rows. This is a type of planting where you allow your strawberry plants to create their daughter plants. Strawberries will send out runners and create a new plant. You can use safety pins to help guide the runners to make sure there is enough space.
When you place your plants into the matted rows, give room for them to expand and the daughter plants will fill in the empty space.
- Hill Method
The third way you can plant your strawberry plants is by the hill method. In this method, you raise the dirt to about 1 inch high and three free long and 2 feet wide. You can place around 6 plants on a hill about 1 foot apart. In this method you are encouraged to cut the runners to allow the plant to focus its energy on producing its own fruit.
A main strawberry plant will grow “runners” which are like arms that shoot out from the plant. Those arms dig back down into the earth and create a new plant. A strawberry plant will continue to create new daughter plants.
There are two ways of thinking when it comes to growing strawberries. You can either cut the strawberry runners to allow for the strawberry plant to focus its fruit and production into the main plant.
The other option is just to let the plant grow. If you choose the latter option, which is the easiest and most hands-off, make sure to plant the strawberries in a location where they have lots of room to grow. Strawberries are a vigorous plant and will grow rapidly.
The Strawberry Crown
One easy mistake for first-time gardeners is to bury the stem of the strawberry plant too low or too high. The strawberry plant is made up of a few different parts. There are flowers, the leaves, and the fruit. In addition, you will find under the stem that is called a crown. If the crown of the plant is too low the plant will rot. If the crown of the plant is too high it will dry out.
You will find strawberries on every continent except Antarctica. They can even be grown all the way up to Alaska. The key idea to remember is that strawberry plants need a lot of sunlight. They need around 8 hours of sun a day. If you are noticing your plants having a lot of leaves but little fruit, it might be because they are not getting enough sun. Using organic compost will be great food for your strawberry plants.
You can plant your strawberries directly into the ground of your garden or in containers. Containers are a great option due to the vigorous nature of strawberry plants.
Many gardeners have come up with a lot of fun and creative ways to grow their strawberries such as: hanging them which helps protect from some predators. Others have used PCP piping and cut out holes for the plants. When it comes to strawberry plants, the possibilities are endless.
Buy one strawberry plant and you will never have to buy one again. Strawberries will grow back each year and continue to produce daughter plants. The daughter plants can be replanted and moved throughout your garden. Some suggest switching your strawberry plants out every three years.
How to Protect Your Strawberry Plants From Predators
Don’t let your hard work get stolen away by pesty birds or hungry squirrels. A fence around your garden is one option to protect your strawberry plants. Another option is to cover them with a mess cover or place them off the ground.
Harvest Strawberries when they turn red. Strawberries will not ripen like other fruit once they are picked. So it’s important that once you harvest your strawberries that you eat them, freeze them, or place them in the refrigerator right away.
As mentioned before, if you find yourself with strawberries with a lot of leaves, but no flowers, it might be due to the fact of lack of sunshine. Try replanting your strawberry plant in a sunnier spot in your garden.
If you notice your strawberry plant rotting or getting too dried out, check the crown to see if it is buried too low or too high.
Additional Fun Facts:
- Strawberries are not actually a fruit.
- Strawberries are the only “fruit” with their seeds on the outside.
- Strawberries got their name from the straw that was placed under them as a mulch.
Strawberries are an amazing addition to any garden and easy for anyone to try. As a hearty plant, they make it a great choice for even the new gardener.
Have you added strawberries to your garden? What type of strawberries have you grown? What do you find is your biggest problem when growing strawberries? We would love to hear your thoughts.