Growing your own strawberries is easy and harvesting the plump juicy fruit will be the real treat. Whether you’re topping your morning cereal with them, or making a fresh smoothie, strawberry jam, or a strawberry cake, your home-grown strawberries will taste even better than store-bought berries. Plus, growing them at home saves you money! Strawberries are perennial plants that come back year after year. Plant them this year and enjoy the literal fruits of your labor for years to come.
June-bearing varieties are the most successful in Oklahoma, producing one large crop in June. It is best to remove all the flowers the first year. Ever-bearing strawberries produce both a June and fall crop. They should also have their first set of flowers removed so you have bigger berries with the next set. Expect a quart of fruit from either type of strawberry plant.
Planting – When & How?
Strawberries should be planted in the ground in late winter to early spring in an area that receives full sun (minimum of 6 – 8 hours of sun each day) and has well-draining soil. They will grow no more than a foot tall and wide. It is best to prepare the entire bed area before planting. Remove all existing grass and weeds by applying RoundUp. Spread Back To Earth™ Composted Cotton Burrs 2″-3″ thick over entire area to be planted. Turn or till to a depth of 4″-8″ mixing it thoroughly with the existing soil. Add a 3” layer of Expanded Shale for heavier clay soils.
In the ground, space your plants 2 – 3 feet apart and space rows leaving a foot in between. Plants should be planted with the top of their root system level or slightly higher than the surrounding soil. Tamp the soil firmly around the root ball to eliminate air pockets. Slowly water the plants immediately after planting until the soil is saturated. Later in the day, water a second time using Fertilome™ Root Stimulator to stimulate early root growth and stability. Since the strawberry plant is shallow rooted, it requires frequent watering.
Fertilizer and Care
Dr. Earth™ Tomato, Vegetable, and Herb Fertilizer is an excellent organic fertilizer for your strawberries. Follow label instructions, but generally you may feed every four weeks. Miracle-Gro™ fertilizer may also be used as a foliar spray for a quick feeding. A 2-3inch layer of Grade A Cedar, Grade A Cypress, or Pecan Hulls placed over the bed area will discourage grass and weed growth, conserve moisture, and keep strawberries cooler, resulting in better growth.
Strawberries grow great in containers as well, including hanging baskets and strawberry jars. Use TLC Premium Potting Soil when planting in containers. Now, enjoy yummy strawberry and basil salads, strawberry jam on biscuits, chocolate covered strawberries….the recipes are endless…or just pop them in your mouth and enjoy their natural sweet flavor.
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