See also: Start Kids Growing Strawberries
Homegrown strawberries are a billion times better tasting than the hard, rarely ripe, flavorless selection in the supermarket. Strawberries are cold-hardy and adaptable, making them one of the easiest berries to grow. While most fruit trees take several years to begin bearing, you can harvest your own strawberries the very first summer. And even if you live in an apartment or small home, you can grow strawberries in a container on your balcony, rooftop, patio, or even doorstep. If your horizontal space is limited, consider growing strawberries in a hanging basket or stacked planter, which will allow you to take advantage of vertical growing space as the strawberry plants tumble out over the sides.
There are two main kinds of strawberries: "June-bearing" and "Ever-bearing" varieties.
June-bearing, bear all at once, usually over a period of about 3 weeks. Because of their earliness, high quality and concentrated fruit set, June-bearers, like “Allstar”, produces high yields of very large, sweet, extra juicy berries in late mid-season, which is usually late spring and early summer, depending on your geographic region. These are the best variety for preserving.
Ever-bearing strawberries produce a big crop from spring flowers, set light flushes of fruit through summer, and then bloom and bear again in late summer and fall. Perfect for large containers or raised beds, where you can give them attentive watering and regular feeding.
Bonnie Plants, available at most garden retailers, offers a good selection of ever-bearing strawberries including: “EverSweet”- This variety offers large berries ripening in abundance. Savor a long harvest, with fruits ripening from late spring until frost. “Quinalt” – the most popular variety of ever-bearing strawberry, offers large, soft, deliciously sweet fruit, ideal for preserves or fresh eating. And new this spring: there’s two compact varieties which don’t produce many runners, making them both perfectly suited for containers: Tristan- This eye-catching edible ornamental shows unusual pink blooms, which fade to form plump, sweet, medium-size strawberries. Loran: Pretty white blooms fade to form large, deep red, cone-shaped berries on this ever-bearing variety. Fruits burst with sweet flavor. Harvest stretches all season long, with fruits ripening from late spring until frost.
For more information on vegetable and herb varieties, gardening tips, ideas and advice, visit www.bonnieplants.com