1 Strawberries prefer to be in full sun, and well-drained, well-established, nutrient rich soil, so we planted the strawberry patch in a spot between my vegetable greenhouse and my grapevines.
2 Strawberry plants come in three types: June-bearing strawberries that fruit once a year; ever bearing strawberries that yield spring and early fall harvests; and neutral strawberries that flower and produce fruit all season long.
3 Many varieties of strawberries send out numerous runners throughout the season and fill in the space between plants, so it's important to give them ample room. It is best to space them about 12 to 18 inches apart.
4 Using jute twine, evenly spaced rows and columns were made down the entire length of the space.
5 We planted several varieties of strawberries - they all came from Glover Perennials in Cutchogue, New York. They include: ‘Fragola Quattro Stagioni’, ‘Reine des Vallees’, ‘Ruegen’, Fragola Di Bosco’, ‘Strawberry Tribute’, ‘Quinault’, ’Seascape’, ‘Mara des Bois’, and 'Weiss Solemacher’. http://gloverperennials.com
6 Chhewang set the plants so the roots are well-covered with soil but the central growing bud, or crown, remains exposed to light and fresh air.
7 Planting strawberries at the right depth is important - if the crown is buried, the plant could easily rot.
8 Plant dormant strawberry transplants in spring as soon as the soil is warm enough to garden. Holes should be large enough to accommodate the roots without bending them.
9 Spread the root mass and set the plant at the same depth it was in the nursery container or with bare root plants be sure the midpoint of the crown is level with the soil surface.
10 Strawberries need at least eight to 10-hours of full sun each day, and they prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.8.
11 This is my strawberry patch now, one year after planting - look how lush and green.
12 And, filled with delicious red strawberries!
13 When harvesting, be sure to pick only fully ripe, red berries.
14 Strawberry fruit ripen from the tip towards the leafy stem end.
15 The best way to harvest is to cut by the stem - do not pull the berry.
16 Look through the plants daily once you see the red color developing and harvest ripe fruit.
17 Strawberries do not continue to ripen after picking, so harvest strawberries without any white or yellow spots. They should also be firm and not soft because those are overripe.
18 Strawberry is an herbaceous perennial in the family Rosaceae. The plant has a short stem and trifoliate leaves which form a crown close to the ground.
19 Strawberry flowers are white with five sepals and five white petals. Strawberries are usually ready for harvest about four to six weeks after the flowers open.
20 Alpine strawberries bear dime-sized, intensely flavored berries that may be red, yellow or white, depending on the variety. Because of their small size, alpine strawberries are among the easiest to pick.
21 Strawberries come in different sizes and shapes.
22 Here is an unripe strawberry, with just a tinge of red. It won't be long before this is ready to pick.
23 Some cultivars may have "white shoulders" because the leaves cover the fruit and prevent the red color from developing, but most will be completely red when ripe.
24 Avoid planting where tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplants, or berries have grown in the past three years. These plants can be the hosts for fungi that cause diseases such as Verticillium wilt.
25 Keep the straw mulch between and under plants to help retain soil moisture, prevent weeds, and give the berries a nice clean surface on which to ripen.
26 Strawberries are poor competitors, so also try to keep all weeds out of the strawberry bed.
27 Do you know why it is called a "strawberry"? One theory is that woodland pickers strung them on pieces of straw to carry them to market. Others believe the surface of the fruit looks embedded with bits of straw. Still others think the name comes from the Old English word meaning “to strew,” because the plant's runners stray in all directions as if strewn on the ground.
28 Here is my longtime housekeeper, Laura Acuna, ready to pick the first strawberries of the season.
29 My housekeeper, Sanu Sherpa, also wanted to pick some fruit.
30 We have lots of berry boxes to fill.
31 Pick strawberries in the morning, when the fruits are cool, and put them in the refrigerator. Wait until just before eating or cooking to rinse the berries thoroughly with cool water. Extra strawberries can be frozen, dried, or made into jam or preserves.
32 Look how juicy these fruits look - I can't wait to make some jam!
33 Harvest will last up to three weeks. We will have an abundance of berries! What varieties of fresh strawberries do you grow in your garden?