Strawberries are a fruit that everyone loves and having them sweet makes them that much better. Here is a list of easy to follow tips you must know which will make your strawberries the sweetest and freshest they can be.
Many people are now embracing the joy of growing food around their home but when it comes to fruit, typically strawberries, growing can be a little hectic. But no need to experiment, I will show you exactly how to grow your strawberries the right way.
Check out these tips below which will bring you the sweetest strawberries to your kitchen table.
13 Tips on Growing Sweet and Plump Strawberries
Juicy strawberries are one of the most refreshing foods during the summer. But what is the best way to grow them?
Strawberries can grow nicely either in raised beds, a conventional garden, or container pots. A successful start with a quality potting mix can give you a nice produce of homegrown sweet strawberries. Check out these tips below:
Tip 1) – Know The Correct Strawberries To Choose
Strawberries are highly prolific that make an impressive and beautiful cover in your garden. Most varieties are disease resistant, and this herbaceous perennial is usually propagated by runners.
However, depending on which variety you are growing, you’ll harvest different periods during the entire growing season.
Some strawberry varieties you can choose from.
The June-bearing variety of strawberry is popular because of their high-quality and plentiful fruits. These strawberries are the most common varieties grown for commercial use.
However, this strawberry will not produce flowers when it’s not provided with an adequate amount of sunlight.
Make sure they are exposed to light continuously, no less than 12 hours each day.
Note: This is your recommended strawberry to grow for quality and taste.
If you want a steady supply of sweet strawberries, day-neutral is an ideal variety for you to grow. It continues to set fruit all summer long.
Day-neutral is an attractive large fruit that usually blooms and sets fruit no matter how long or short the days are. You can enjoy ripening fruits until a hard frost sets them in dormancy.
This strawberry will bloom flowers whenever the temperature is between 200C to 290C.
The plants can tolerate temperatures that descend gradually as low as -60C but will eventually die when temperatures fall to -120C (100F).
Alpine strawberries bear no resemblance to the plump modern garden strawberry. However, this berry is much prettier with small white blossoms.
These hardy little varieties are tasty fruits that can tolerate several soil conditions and withstand drought. They don’t spread by runners, but bear fruit throughout the summer months like the day-neutral variety.
Tip 2) – Provide Ample Amount of Sunlight
Strawberries require a generous amount of sunlight to set fruit. Providing them with about 8-10 hours of sun is ideal, but six hours of full and direct sunlight every day is sufficient to make them bear quality fruits.
Strawberries love the sunny location, but you need to protect them from harsh winds. This way, beneficial insects such as butterflies can assist with pollination.
Find a sunny spot to grow strawberry plants. Sufficient warmth and light help produce sweet and delicious strawberries.
Tip 3) – Choose The Right Location
Choosing the right site to grow strawberries can lessen the possibility of disease and pest infestation.
You also need to ensure your strawberries won’t suffer from standing water accumulated after a heavy rainstorm.
Planting your berries on higher ground lessens the possibility of frost damage aside from improving aeration around your plants.
Also, do not plant strawberries together with potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, or raspberries.
Avoid planting strawberries in the area where potatoes are planted from the past five years unless you’re using sterilized soil. Why?
Potatoes are susceptible to verticillium, microbes that can cross-contaminate and potentially kill strawberry plants.
Tip 4) – Raised Beds, In-Ground, or Containers?
- In-ground and raised beds
Yes, strawberries don’t last forever, but knowing how long you want to grow the plants will help you decide where to plant them.
Strawberries grown in-ground or in raised beds tend to last from two to five years for an average range.
Keeping strawberry plants for over five years makes them susceptible to many diseases. Besides, their fruits won’t be as sweet as earlier stages of their growth.
- Container pots
Gardeners with limited space often grow strawberries in vertical gardens. This method is especially beneficial if you are living in urban areas.
Strawberries are grown in elevated gardens like alpine last for many years. However, replanting in fresh potting soil is ideal for every 3 years. You can divide the clumps and let them thrive anew.
Tip 5) – Sit Them in Slightly Acidic Soil
Knowing the pH level of the soil for your strawberries is essential to get the most out of your plants.
A potting mix with a pH below 7 is acidic, and like other plants, strawberries prefer slightly acidic soil. A potting mix with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 and a well-draining soil composed of sand, clay, silt, and organic matter.
If your soil has a pH that is too low, you might need to amend it with ground limestone to increase the pH.
However, take note that a soil with a pH level over eight can affect the nutrients of your strawberry. It will generate a negative effect on the iron level of your plant.
The yellowing of strawberries is a condition that can lessen the quality of fruits and reduce yields. It shows a high pH in the soil.
Using organic matter like green manures such as field peas, buckwheat, canola, or rye can help reduce the soil pH.
Tip 6) – Provide Correct Spacing
Different strawberries require spacing differently. June-bearing should be planted about 18-24 inches by 3-4 feet apart.
Providing them with adequate space will allow runners to develop and root freely. Runners can spread out to produce additional plants that will cover your garden bed for about 2-feet wide.
However, day-neutral strawberries usually planted in beds spaced 1 foot apart within the rows while a 2-foot width path should separate the beds.
Removing runners developed on a day-neutral is essential to keep the plant large and single. Doing this will also help maintain proper aeration.
Strawberries grown in a well-aerated garden produce sweet and plump fruits. So the right spacing is recommended, or else your overcrowded garden won’t give you the quality yield you expect.
Tip 7) – Ensure the Plants Stay Healthy
Pinching off flower buds that appear after the first few weeks of planting will help the plant to stay healthy.
Doing so will save the nutrients that are spent on fruit production. It helps the plants to establish a vigorous rooting system. It also encourages runners to fill the bed, resulting in more productive yields.
Blooms that may develop after this period may be allowed to set fruit. Strawberries with established roots and foliage have sufficient energy to produce large and juicy fruits.
Tip 8) – Mulch Your Strawberry
Mulching your strawberry will help insulate and conserve soil moisture, prevent the spread of disease, and suppress weeds. Besides, it will keep your berry garden neat and clean.
However, mulching strawberries have two significant reasons. Tossing mulch over your strawberry plants in late fall or early winter will protect the roots and crown from extreme temperatures.
For strawberries in spring, you can toss a thin layer of straw mulch under the foliage about an inch in depth to help keep the soil moisture.
It also prevents plash-back of soil-borne diseases aside from keeping the fruit from sitting directly on the soil surface.
Tip 9) – Encourage Balanced Humidity
Powdery mildew often develops and spreads by moderate to high humidity. This fungus does not require water for the spores to germinate and infect.
During the dry season, most other diseases are not a problem, but powdery mildew is a threat that represents a danger.
High humidity has a disadvantageous effect on strawberries upon the opening of the pollen sacs of the stamen. This is why it is essential to provide adequate aeration to protect them from powdery mildew and blight during the flowering period.
Tip 10) – Pick The Right Time to Plant
The month of March or April, in early spring is the perfect time for planting strawberries after the threat of frost has past.
However, if it’s late in the season and you still want to grow strawberries, there is always a way around it.
Consider growing strawberries in hanging baskets, containers, and vertical gardens, this will allow for you to tend the plants easily.
You can move them outside when adequate sunlight is necessary and water them manually when you find the soil dry.
Growing in a greenhouse where you can control the environment allows you to grow strawberries all year round. Besides, you can protect them from the harsh weather, pests, and imbalance of humidity.
Tip 11) – Water Generously
Another essential factor you have to consider is the position with maximum sun exposure. Ensure the area around the plants is free from debris that may hinder their growth potential.
Berries that love the full sun are also prone to dehydration, and to avoid such an occurrence, you need to provide sufficient watering. Soak and saturate the soil when watering, preferably in the morning or in the evening.
However, be careful not to wet or splash mud on foliar and fruits as these may lead to early decay. Water the plant liberally every day until the berries formed fully is essential.
Strawberries dry faster because they are shallow-rooted plants. But if you are growing them in a climate that receives rainfall per week, then watering your plants isn’t necessary.
However, if you are in a drier climate, you need to provide adequate moisture to prevent the possibility of dehydration, particularly during hot weather.
Using a soaker hose or drip irrigation system is a highly efficient way to supply sufficient moisture to your strawberries. It will prevent the foliage from getting wet, making the plants less susceptible to foliar diseases and root rot because of over-watering.
Tip 12) – Feed Your Berries
To help develop flavors, you want to feed your strawberries fertilizers to protect them from starvation. Healthy strawberries will definitely produce tasty fruits.
Giving them potassium will encourage growth and develop more sugary and tasty flavors. Potassium is popular to help enhance fruit flavors, particularly in tomatoes.
Yes, feeding your berries for flavor is essential. However, considering the right timing is also necessary.
When fruits set, make sure you feed the plant. Feed them once again about two weeks later and another feeding two weeks after that. You can also apply this method with berries in containers or grow-bags.
Tip 13) – Pick Berries at the Right Time
After all that hard work, you need to understand when it is the optimum time to savor your berries to experience them at their absolute best.
Strawberries may color but know that uneven color or too pale is still too soon to pick, and picking too early won’t give you the best berry taste.
On the other hand, berries left hanging on the plant too long under the scorching sun will turn them black. They become over baked and taste like wine.
Of course, they are still edible, but not at their sweet perfection. You can either save for jam making or other recipes like pie. The bright red and evenly colored are the perfect berries when you eat them fresh.
Final Thoughts On How To Grow Strawberries Correctly
Flavorful and sugary fruit is the number one priority of most gardeners when growing strawberries. Everyone craves that plumpness and sweetness that comes from the perfect berry.
Some varieties are more flavorful than others, while some have a natural sweetness. Yet choosing a wonderful variety is only a single factor involved to produce sweet berries as you now know. Correct cultivation plays a significant role to achieve such sweetness we all want in strawberries.
And to have that sweet strawberry, you need to make sure every factor that contributes to producing a plump and juicy strawberry should all come together.
With that being said, you now know the most useful tips on how to grow strawberries the right way. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask below!