The Strawberry Growing Master Manual

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The Strawberry Growing Master Manual

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Strawberries. Everyone loves them. The small red fruits meld their aroma and taste together perfectly for what many food connoisseurs describe as a truly sublime gustatory experience. So delightful is the fruit that literally billions of dollars are made each year from the sale of the savory succulents. The enormous Californian strawberry companies that produce tons upon tons of strawberries don’t want you to know something, however. In fact, they don’t want you to know several things…

They don’t want you to know that you can easily grow your own strawberries at home in as little as one half of a cubic foot of dirt! You don’t need acres upon acres of land.

They don’t want you to know how much money you can save by growing your own strawberries instead of buying berries from them! Strawberry plants are one of the most productive garden plants based on size-to-harvest ratio.

They don’t want you to know how enjoyable it is to see little plants produce heaps of strawberries that you can immediately eat! There is no need to fight the crowds at the supermarket or grocery store to enjoy ultra-fresh berries.

And, my friend, those are just a few of the myriads of benefits you’ll realize by growing your own strawberries. Let me tell you briefly about the value you will be able to realize by using The Strawberry Growing Master Manual to produce your own strawberries. To best understand this value, let’s start with some of what makes strawberry plants so amazing…

Read moreThe Strawberry Growing Master Manual

Mulching Strawberry Plants in the Summer

mulching strawberry plants in the summerQ: Should I Mulch Strawberry Plants?

On April 9, 2015, Kim Ruby asked:

Hello – I live in North Central Florida. My growing season is different than the northern climates. My strawberry season is ended by June. This past year I planted 40 Sweet Charlie bare root plants in November and they are doing great. I have been pinching the berries this year giving the plant a chance to establish. Should I use straw mulch to protect my strawberry plants from the summer heat? If not, what do you suggest? Thank You.

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Novelty Strawberries

novelty strawberriesNovelty Strawberries for the Home Garden

It is finally that time of year again! The winter freeze is in the process of giving way to the spring thaw, and that means it is time to start planning your garden. The sooner you start planning, the sooner you will be ready to plant, and the sooner you will be ready to harvest delicious earth-grown produce.  Novelty strawberries could be an option for the adventurous gardener this year.

Since strawberry plants often find their way into many gardeners' plots each year, I thought it might be beneficial to review some of the lesser-known options. If you have a square foot garden or a few extra rows (or even a partial row) of space to use, you may want to consider branching out into some of these novelty strawberry varieties.

Everyone knows the traditional red and juicy strawberry. Many don't know that there are other, less-common options available as well. This post will familiarize you with you options. If you are a bit adventurous and willing to branch out, try planting one or more of these novelty strawberries. You'll find them unique and well-suited as attraction-getters, whether you use them in salads, enter them in contests, or find other amazing uses for them!

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Recommended Strawberry Varieties for Canada

Recommended Strawberry Varieties for CanadaStrawberry plants are, in my humble opinion, a truly fascinating marvel of nature.  They are amazingly adaptable; they propagate themselves in a plurality of ways; and they produce a fleshy red, white, yellow, or purple fruit that is universally prized by the intelligent and instinctive creatures that live all around us (including us human folk!).  They have developed and adapted means of surviving sub-zero temperatures, and, consequently, can be grown from the warmer temperate regions of our great planet all the way north or south to the frigid regions.

But, their adaptability and genetic flexibility have allowed for selective breeding.  Researchers have been able to breed for desired characteristics.  And, while such breeding programs have allowed for improved disease resistance, bigger strawberries, different colors, and more commercially-viable cultivars, the breeding has also culled some of the hardiness from some of the varieties as specificity has narrowed by region.  Today, not just any strawberry variety will do well in just any ol' location.  The more extreme the weather, the more specific one should be when selecting a specialized variety for planting in order to obtain the best harvest from your efforts.

That, my strawberry-loving friends, is where this post can help!  If you live in the frigid environs of Canada (at least in winter), you need to know how to pick an appropriately hardy strain of strawberry plants so that you end up happy with your final yield of fruit.  If you are from the United States, go here for your state-by-state recommended varieties.  This page is a compilation of each of the recommend strawberry variety lists for each of the Canadian provinces and territories.

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How to Grow Certified Organic Strawberries

How to Grow Certified Organic StrawberriesAlthough strawberries have been at the pinnacle of the produce pyramid for decades, their popularity continues to grow.  Unless a strawberry allergy forces a saddened consumer away from these bright red edibles, they are usually the first to vanish from fruit trays across the globe.  Strawberries are delicious, there’s no doubt about that, but they have gotten a bad reputation of late.  Conventional growing methods use fumigants, chemicals, and other methods to maximize production and profits.  But, more and more people are becoming disillusioned and distrustful of conventional methods and are increasingly concerned over potential deleterious consequences of consuming the trace amounts of those chemicals when the fruits are consumed.  This trend toward natural and organic produce has opened a door for new growers to eschew chemical-based practices for potentially safer methods of growing strawberries.  The market for organic strawberries is growing, and the interest in growing them is increasing among potential strawberry farmers as well due to the premium price that organic strawberries bring over their conventionally-grown counterparts.

If you are interested in learning how to grow certified organic strawberries, this guide will help you get started.

This post will focus on the requirements a potential grower must meet in order to legally use such terms as “organic,” “100% organic,” or “made with organic ingredients.”  If you desire to sell your organic produce at a farmer’s market or any other public or private venue, you need to know the requirements so that you don’t run into trouble with the law.

Read moreHow to Grow Certified Organic Strawberries

4 Secrets to Growing Loads of Organic Strawberries

4 secrets to growing loads of organic strawberriesI have been growing and helping others grow organic strawberries for many years.  While the segment of the population that is concerned about how their food is grown is still a minority, more and more people are discovering the benefits of sustainable agriculture.  And, as more and more gardeners test out their green thumbs, gardens all around the world are finding strawberry plants inhabiting space next to herbs and other garden plants.  Going green and growing healthy food go well together; and since virtually everyone loves strawberries, this post will help those who want to eschew the conventional methods (which are somewhat notorious for producing dirty strawberries) for potentially safer ones.  Plus, since no one wants to trade a basket full of bright, plump strawberries for just a hand full, the four secrets I'll fill you in on momentarily will help you get started on your journey of successfully growing organic strawberries!

First Things First!

Before getting to the secrets, a few preliminaries are in order.  There are some key decisions that have to be made prior to planting strawberry plants.  You need to know which of the main types of strawberries you want to plant…

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Growing Organic Strawberry Plants

growing organic strawberry plants0031 : Strawberry Plants Library

This is an entry in the Strawberry Plants Library here at Strawberry Plants .org. Continue reading for summarized information. The entire resource may be accessed or downloaded by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.

Growing Organic Strawberry Plants: Summary

This excellent document was produced by a very skilled and knowledgeable team from Cornell University. The coordinating editors were Juliet Carroll, Marvin Pritts, and Catherine Heindenreich.  Multiple contributors included: Kerik Cox, Greg Loeb, Michael Helms, Andrew Landers, Paul Curtis, Courtney Weber, and Laura McDermott.  The staff writers were Elizabeth Graeper Thomas and Theodora Bucien, while Mary Kirkwyland and Michelle Marks further edited the 2013 version of this guide.  This production was funded in part by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.  For each of the departments and specialties represented by the contributing team, download the resource via the link at the end of this page.

The following is covered in the publication:

Introduction to Growing Organic Strawberries

1.  There are three main obstacles to successfully cultivating strawberries organically.

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Growing Winter Strawberries?

This is a question submitted to Strawberry Plants .org by a reader. The information provided in response to the question may benefit others with the same or similar inquiries. Therefore, it has been added to the archive page of submitted questions. See the Strawberry FAQ for more questions, or use the search box at the top right of this page to search this site for information.

Q: Growing Winter Strawberries?

On December 29, 2010, Gerard Caron asked:

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How to Grow Strawberries in 10 Easy Steps

how to grow strawberries 10 stepsAs the strawberry growing season starts to really ramp up, there are lots of experienced gardeners who know what they need to do to harvest a crop of bulging strawberries this year.  But, if you aren’t completely confident about what to do and where to start, this quick guide to growing strawberries will walk you through the essentials.  Virtually everyone loves those delicious icons of taste supremacy.  So, if you haven't even considered growing strawberries yourself, why not take the plunge this year?  Learn how to grow strawberries in 10 easy steps!

Follow these 10 easy steps, and you should have the knowledge you need to have to walk confidently out to your garden and see happy strawberry plants.  From the planning and selection all the way to picking and preserving, this information will teach virtually anyone how to grow strawberries successfully.

How to Grow Strawberries in 10 Easy Steps

Read moreHow to Grow Strawberries in 10 Easy Steps

Do Strawberry Plants Need Acidic Soil?

do strawberry plants need acidic soilThis is a question submitted to Strawberry Plants .org by a reader. The information provided in response to the question may benefit others with the same or similar inquiries. Therefore, it has been added to the archive page of submitted questions. See the Strawberry FAQ for more questions, or use the search box at the top right of this page to search this site for information.

Q: Do Strawberry Plants Need Acidic Soil?

On February 20, 2013, Becky asked:

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Strawberry Plants Per Person?

strawberry plants per personThis is a question submitted to Strawberry Plants .org by a reader. The information provided in response to the question may benefit others with the same or similar inquiries. Therefore, it has been added to the archive page of submitted questions. See the Strawberry FAQ for more questions, or use the search box at the top right of this page to search this site for information.

Q: How Many Strawberry Plants Per Person?

On May 14, 2011, mr. mixitup asked:

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Mulching Strawberry Plants with Straw for Winter

mulching strawberry plants with straw for winterMulching strawberry plants is a necessary step in the care of perennial strawberry care.  For gardeners using the matted row system to produce strawberries, part of the process of growing strawberries involves strawberry renovation and preparation for overwintering strawberry plants.  In milder temperate climates, minimal mulching is required as strawberries can withstand nominal freezing temperatures without much difficulty.  However, if temperatures drop below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, the crowns will often sustain damage and fail to bloom the following spring.

One of the simplest and most common methods of protecting the strawberry crowns is to use a thick layer of straw mulch to cover and protect the vulnerable crowns during the cold of winter.  It is relative easy to apply and serves several beneficial functions for your plants.

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Pineberries! Try Pineberry Plants in 2012

pineberry plants 2012In the United States, just about every home gardener cuts his or her teeth with tomatoes and peppers when entering into the world of gardening for the first time.  And, for years afterward, those plants yield bountifully and are a productive stable.  For those gardeners who are ready to branch out, I have a suggestion.  Why not try planting pineberries this year?

Pineberry plants are not new, but they are new to most gardeners.  They have increased in popularity over the last several years since they were first sold in the UK commercially on a limited basis.  Now, these pineberry plants are readily available (click the links below).  What makes them special isn't their huge fruits or their enormous harvests, but the unique flavor and aroma.  They have natural pineapple accents!

So, if you have a spare square foot in your garden this year, you may want to consider planting pineberries.  For all the details you need regarding pineberry plants, pineberry seeds, and all things pineberry, see this post: Pineberry Pineberries.  The suppliers of plants are linked from that page and can also be found here: Pineberry.  And, if you are into unique garden plants, don't miss all the other varieties of White Strawberries available to you!

Overwintering Strawberries

overwintering strawberriesStrawberries are a delightful treat for thousands of home gardeners every year.  The sweet rush of flavor that comes after sampling the distinctive aromatic profile makes for a truly rewarding experience early in the growing season.  Strawberries are one of the first fruits to be harvested in virtually every temperate region of the world, and the life cycle of the strawberry plant is uniquely suited to bearing an early crop.

Usually before spring even arrives, the strawberry plants are coaxed from their long winter’s slumber by rising temperatures and burst forth from dormancy in a fevered rush of vegetative production on their journey to setting a nice harvest of berries for the gardener who lavished care on them.  But, in most areas, winter poses a real threat to the life of the little forbs.

This post will help you successfully overwinter strawberries so that YOU can enjoy that first burst of juicy strawberry fruits each and every spring.

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