Strawberries

What an idea, right! Strawberries are a very popular and healthy treat to grow. The ones from your garden will taste superior to the ones from supermarket. They are relatively easy to grow. They are a big part of our gardening history. Because of their health benefits they were used not only as a treat but also as a medicine. They are full of vitamin C, amino acids, folic acid, vitamin B65, potassium and other good things. An hey, no fat, low calories ! The sweetness of strawberries /which btw by biological sense are not berries, but enlarged ends of the plant’s stamen/ is innocent.

In our climate /Central Europe USDA zone 7/ you can plant them in spring or in the late summer. I am trying to plant some alpine strawberries from seed. It takes a long time until they start to germinate and grow. I germinated them sometime in February and the plants just started to grow more intensively. In the spring I also purchased some “frigo” plants /refrigerated strawberry plant hearts/. When I have received them I got scared because it was just roots and a tiny top part, nothing else . Three days after planting you could notice first leaves emerging and then BOOOM! Unstoppable development lead to plenty yummy strawbs. Cool.

Strawberries will need some fertile soil and watering especially during flowering. I fertilize them with comfrey tea and I will put some compost to the soil next spring. They do not like weeds, so time to time get rid of weeds. They like sun /not the alpine strawberries/, and they love when you will tell them a little story about a tiny small strawberry who grew big and was so pretty and so sweet that a good gardener decided to rescue it from the attachment to the plant / you stop there, you don’t want to scare your strawberries/.

What kind of strawberries can you purchase:

June Bearing strawberries produce a single, large crop per year during a 2 – 3 week period in the spring. June bearers are the traditionally grown plants, producing a single flush of flowers and many runners. They are classified into early, mid-season and late varieties. The largest fruits are generally from June bearing varieties.

Everbearing strawberries produce two to three harvests of fruit intermittently during the spring, summer and fall.

Everbearing plants do not send out many runners.

Day Neutral strawberries will produce fruit throughout the growing season. These strawberries also produce few runners. Everbearing and day neutral strawberries are great when space is limited, but the fruits are usually somewhat smaller than June bearers.

There are tons of varieties on the market. Do not believe the catalogue description. Experiment, try it yourself. For example I bought some Mara de Bois the “…ultimate gourmet experience” and also Honeoye the very hardy and high yielding strawberry. Well Honeoye was really hardy and did great and also outperformed Mara de Bois in flavor. I think it all comes to your personal taste.

Do not miss strawberries in your garden or even you can grow them on your balcony. It is worth it !