The first item on my Garden Journal to – do list was to clean up my strawberry bed. With gloves on my fingers and a rake in my hands I proceeded to gently rake up the leaves and dead growth from the berry bushes. Unfortunately my strawberry patch has been attacked by unwanted crab grass so I worked hard to remove as much of the pesky grass as I could. As is typical with many of my early spring projects where I find myself getting a little too forceful with the hard packed dirt I accidently thrust the tip of my rake into the drip line… my husband will be delighted to see that I have added “repair the sprinkler in the strawberries” to his list of things to do.
My strawberry patch in it’s messiness does not look much different from it’s ‘cleaned out’ March state but I’m sure my efforts will not have been in vain as they will now more easily be able to find the upcoming sunshine.
I love growing strawberries and my kids (and dogs….grrrr) love eating the strawberries. If you are thinking of planting a patch of your own here are a few things to consider.
There are three types of strawberry plants:
- June Bearing, which provide fruit in late May to June
- Ever bearing, which will produce a crop in the spring and again in the fall.
- Day-neutrals, which will continue to produce fruit throughout the summer.
The temperatures where I live, in Southern Utah are often too warm for strawberries plants to produce in the heat of the summer so Everbearers and Day-neutrals act very much the same and are often considered synonyms.
After you have decided which type of strawberry you want in your garden you will need to find an appropriate place to plant them. Strawberries spread themselves by sending out runners that form daughter plants. Because of this, the plants need room to grow. I recommend starting your patch with plants rather than seeds. Place the plants 18 – 24 inches apart. Removing the blossoms and fruit during the first season will promote runners to form which will lead your patch into forming a continuous mat for plants. Be sure to carve out a path if necessary.
Strawberry plants will need to be thined out every year to encourage new growth.
The biggest problem with growing strawberries is weed control. A strawberry plant will not compete well with weeds for water and nutrients. Such is the problem I am having with the crab grass living in my beds. Remove weeds quickly to avoid having your plants be choked out.
Strawberries should be harvested every other day to insure high quality. Pick in the morning and refrigerate as soon as possible to maximize shelf life.
For additional information about Growing Strawberries check out these resources:
On an unrelated side note. Decorative rocks look great as long as they are kept clean. My rocks surrounding my strawberry patch are always filled with leaves and gunk after the winter time. After my efforts of removing the rocks, sweeping out the leaves, and replacing the rocks into their piles they look clean and fresh again.