In Medieval religious paintings the strawberry was symbolic of "noble thought and majesty," but I'm more likely to think of gluttony than piety when I see this fruit. I could eat homegrown strawberries by the bushel basket.
To accommodate my appetite and all the sweet fruits I want to share, we've planted about 170 strawberries at the Moss Mountain Farm Garden Home.
I selected both June bearing and ever-bearing varieties in hopes of having a steady supply throughout the summer. June bearing plants produce fruit once in early summer for about 3 weeks. Ever-bearing strawberries produce two significant crops, once in early summer and then again in fall. In cool climates they will continue to fruit sporadically over the course of the growing season.
Strawberry Varieties Planted at Moss Mountain
'Allstar' - June bearing * exceptionally disease resistant * classic strawberry shape * frost resistant * firm consistency * vigorous grower * extra juicy and sweet * very hardy
'Ozark Beauty' - ever-bearing * heavy early summer and fall crops with sporadic fruits throughout summer * especially productive in cool climates * great for containers * large berries * sweet * heaviest bearer of the ever-bearing varieties
'Cardinal' - June Bearing * recommended for warm climate gardens * disease resistant * extra large, very sweet berries
Strawberry Planting Tips:
Timing - Strawberries can be planted in spring as soon as the soil is workable or in the fall. If a spring frost is predicted protect the flowers with a layer of wheat straw, pine needles or a frost blanket.
Planting Depth - Plant strawberries high with the base of the bud union at soil level and the soil just covering the roots.
Sunlight - Provide at least 6 hours of sunshine.
Soil - The soil should be well-drained with plenty of organic humus with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.
Verticillium Wilt - Unless the variety is noted as disease resistant, don't plant strawberries where tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or potatoes have been grown in the past 3 years. These plants along with others in the Solanaceae family often carry the disease.
Fertilizer - Apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer when establishing new beds at a rate of 1 pound per 100 square feet. Work this into the soil before planting. Feed again in late summer or early fall being careful to keep the fertilizer off of the foliage. Do not over fertilize as this leads to excessive leaf production, reduced fruiting, and vulnerability to disease.
Water - Strawberries need about 1 inch of water per week during the growing season.
Mulch - Apply a layer of mulch between the strawberry plants to keep the soil cool and consistently moist, and keep the berries off the ground.
Winter Care - Strawberries need a layer of mulch in winter to protect them from freezing temperatures. Read more about preparing strawberries for winter.
Life Span - A strawberry plant is good for about 3 years, after which it should be dug up. Wait another 4 years to plants strawberries in that location again.
Container Grown - You can grow strawberries even if you don't have much space. Plant them in a rectangular container and place the container in full sun.