Growing Organic Strawberries
Posted May 11, 2022
Who wouldn’t want a bowlful of ripe, fresh strawberries still warm from the sun? There is nothing that beats that sweet fresh taste of homegrown strawberries!
There are a couple different types of strawberries. June bearing or everbearing (also called perpetual). June bearing strawberries produce a single crop each year between May and the end of July, depending on your area and variety of strawberry plant you have. Everbearing will produce fruit more than once and keep on producing right into October, or at least until the first frost.
Although strawberries are perennials, they are not everlasting and will need to be replaces ever three or four years. Although, because they produce runners (new plants), they can live longer if taken care of by removing old strawberries every few years.
Strawberries grow best in full sun, on light, well-draining, fertile soil with a slightly acidic pH of 6-6.5. This can be easily achieved even if you have alkaline soil, by fertilizing with Acid Mix 4-3-6 fertilizer at planting time, when the first blooms appear, and midsummer.
Amend soil well with compost before planting. If your soil is high in clay, you can add perlite to lighten the soil. Sandy soils drain well, but can be heavy, so an addition of vermiculite may be needed. Work Acid Mix fertilizer in the first two inches of soil.
Keep the plant crown level with or just above the surface of the soil. Plant 8-12 inches apart.
Water strawberries regularly, especially just after planting and while the berries are developing, but be careful not to water log them. Snip off runners that you don’t want to use for probation of new plants. If you don’t know what runners are, you’ll quickly learn once you plant strawberries. They begin like a long stem with a small set of leaves and reach out and begin to root near the mother plant to produce more plants.
You may find birds love to come nibble on your strawberries. You can use Bird-X Netting to keep the birds from eating your crop.
Slugs, snails, earwigs and sow bugs also love the taste of strawberries. This is easily remedied with a little sprinkle of organic Sluggo Plus every week to ten days.
Pick berries when they become dark-colored and completely ripe, and before they start to soften. Choose a warm day for the juiciest fruits. Eat them as soon as possible after picking.