Strawberries are a very rewarding crop. Each strawberry plant produces one quart of strawberries. There are lots of significant uses for strawberries, and here are just some of them: for making cakes, desserts, pies, pastries, and even sweet wine. You could dip strawberries into chocolate or whipped cream to create a sweet, tangy dessert. You could combine strawberries with other fruits such as banana and pineapple to create a healthful, luscious fruit salad. The possibilities are virtually endless.
There are some places in the country where they have a shortcake festival, such as the annual Strawberry Shortcake Festival at the UCSC Farm (in Sta. Cruz, California), Strawberry Shortcake Festival in Middletown, CT and yet another one in Hartford, CT.
You can try growing strawberries in your own garden, as they can easily grow as long as you know how to nurture them properly and the soil is dry and rich with organic fertilizers.
So if you’re interested in growing a strawberry plant, here are some of the things you’d need to do:
- Choose a good strawberry plant. When at a nursery, select plants with high crowns and light colored roots. Make sure also that you choose plants that are free of disease.
- Choose the correct setting and time. It’s best to plant during early spring or fall when the soil is dry enough. Also, keep other crops away to avoid competition with your strawberry plant, and put organic matter into the soil before planting the strawberry. It’s also best to plant your strawberry when the sun isn’t overhead, such as during the late afternoon or during a cloudy day. The plot where you plant the strawberry should have full access to sunlight (at least 5 to 6 hours every day) and it should not have had crops such as potatoes, eggplants, peppers and tomatoes grown in it previously. You could choose to use hanging baskets to plant your strawberries, or in strawberry pots. Just make sure that wherever you choose to plant your strawberries, they will receive ample sunlight and water to grow.
- Know how to plant. First, remove all damaged areas as well as old leaves and fruits. The roots should be trimmed until only 5 inches are remaining. When planting, make sure that only the roots of the strawberry are covered; don’t cover the crown. The roots should freely fan out in the soil.
- Know the maintenance. Water your strawberries everyday until they begin to grow, and then lower the rate to about an inch of water per week. Fertilize your plant at least once every month, but the frequency should go up to once every ten days once they start to grow. You may opt to use insecticide to prevent spider mites and aphids from destroying your strawberry crop. You could also use fungicide to prevent fungus from developing. Because strawberry seeds grow on the outside of the plant, they are very attractive to birds. Keep them away by installing bird netting over your crop.
- Know when to harvest. Ripe strawberries have a full red color (though differences in shades will occur among different varieties). However, to make sure they are ripe enough you could sample one for its taste. Remember to handle them carefully during harvesting as strawberries bruise easily. One technique is by breaking the stem instead of pulling on the berry itself. You could refrigerate harvested berries or place them in a cool, shaded area.
There you have it! Hopefully these tips will encourage you to exercise your green thumb and plant your own strawberry crop. Remember, not only are they delicious but really healthful as well. Enjoy!