How to Grow Strawberries in Your Garden
Grow strawberries; they are easy to produce and deserve a place in your garden.
Fresh strawberries, straight from the garden, are a great summer treat.
Side Bar: U-Pick Strawberries and Growing Tips
Strawberries – everyone’s favorite fruit – are welcome heralds of summer, and they are so easy to grow in a garden, flower bed, or any patch of sandy soil – even in a patio pot.
Strawberry plants are inexpensive and available in most local nurseries and mail-order garden catalogs. Any gardener will have success growing the fruit if she follows a few simple rules.
Why grow your own? Nothing is more pleasant than getting up early on a clear sunny morning, wandering outside while a mockingbird sings, and finding five or six dewy, sparkling red berries with which to decorate your morning bowl of cereal. The flavor of fresh berries is rich, pure and crisp.
Several years ago when my U-Pick berry patch in Johnson County, Missouri, was at its height of popularity, good store-bought commercial berries were hard to find. The overly large cone-shaped Driscoll variety, widely available at most grocery stores, lacked flavor and had a crunchy texture making it difficult to believe that these were even an edible food. Since then, producers have come a long way in improving the commercial strawberry, and although still overly firm (necessary for successful shipping), the flavor has improved. However, outstanding flavor, convenience, cost, quality and stellar health benefits are all good reasons for cultivating your own patch, large or small.
I have grown berries in my yard for many years, experimenting with several different cultivars. But I keep coming back to the same old variety – Surecrop. It is the first berry type I grew more than 20 years ago and is in my garden this spring. It’s the variety that I regularly provide for the participants in the local strawberry-growing classes that I teach.
Surecrop is foolproof to grow and has been around for a long time. These plants are hardy, prolific and dependable. In fact, Surecrop’s prolific runners sometimes become their own brand of “weed,” producing more volunteer runner plants than there is space to accommodate.
Berry plants send out many slender string-like daughter runners, which will root and produce the next year. Once started, your bed will continually enlarge itself, without further financial output by you.
Choosing a good spot
Grow plants in a sunny area unaffected by tree roots or tree shade. Berry plants do best in loose soil with added compost or sand. Make sure the chosen spot has good drainage; plants sitting in soggy soil will die a slow death.
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