There are few things more sweet and tasty than a fresh, home-grown strawberry. If you haven’t considered growing strawberries before because you thought they were too hard to grow, let me convince you otherwise. There are a variety of ways to grow strawberries that range from simple space-saving hanging baskets to a designated garden bed in the yard.
All strawberries are perennial, so you can reap the rewards of your efforts for years to come. There are three main types of strawberry plants: June-bearing, ever-bearing, and day-neutral. June-bearing plants can give you a large harvest of good-sized berries, quickly filling your freezer over a short 2-3 week period in early summer. Ever-bearing plants generally produce a good amount early on and a smaller flush in late summer, with a few scattered berries in between. Day neutral berries produce smaller berries in smaller quantities all season long.
To ideally have berries all summer, and some frozen to get you through the winter, you could plant a bed of June-bearing plants as well as some ever-bearing ones. If that sounds like too much work, even creating a small bed of ever-bearing plants will keep your sweet tooth satisfied over the summer. If you don’t have that kind of space in the yard and would like easily accessible juicy fruits, then opt for some ever-bearing plants in a stylish strawberry pot or hanging basket right on the patio. The only upkeep on potted strawberries is to routinely trim back long runners, fertilize, and keep well watered. They can be treated as annuals or even overwintered in their pots in a protected location.
For even less fuss, choose alpine strawberries, a day-neutral variety. They tend not to produce runners, or very few, so managing them in the garden is much easier. The strawberries are much smaller and fewer in quantity but the taste is sublime. They grow best in a small area of sunny garden or in raised beds. They need ample rooting space so if grown in pots make sure they aren’t crowded.
I hope this gives you the encouragement to get some strawberries growing in the garden or on the patio because nothing beats the flavor of fresh-picked berries any time of day!
–Colette, Sargent’s on 2nd Sales Associate and Edible Enthusiast