Man vs. Strawberries

My yard is full of strawberries.  Over 100 plants at this point and counting.  Few fruits or vegetables grow with so little work and produce so much.  It’s also wonderful to just stop by a plant once in a while and grab a strawberry and eat it on the go.  Try that with an eggplant – it won’t be as enjoyable.

Over the years I have planted strawberries in almost half of my main garden and this year I planted them in a small raised bed which runs about 50 feet along my driveway.  I wanted the most variety of taste, size, and time of year when the berries ripen.  To accomplish this I made sure to start with a mix of June-bearing and everbearing plants.  While the name “everbearing” would suggest that they will always be producing fruit, the fact is that those plants really just have multiple harvests throughout the year.  In southern California, my everbearing plants tend to get three distinct harvest times spread out from early spring to early fall.  For the most variety of taste, I mixed in some alpine strawberries which are much smaller than your grocery store strawberries, but also have a less sweet and more tangy taste.  Recently I also planted musk strawberries (sometimes referred to as “bubbleberries”) for their spectacularly distinct smell and taste.  [More on my adventures with Bubbleberries in a future post!]

Newly planted strawberries with drip line
Newly planted strawberries with drip line, planted roughly 2 feet apart to allow for growth

Growing strawberries couldn’t be simpler.

  • Just make sure they planted in an area that gets sun for at least 6-8 hours a day.
  • Make sure you buy plants/seeds that grow well in your area of the country.  Certain varieties can handle the extreme heat of the southwest or frost of the northeast better than others.  Any reputable nursery in your area should automatically stock only the strawberries that are best for your climate, but make sure and check
  • Moisture.  Many websites will tell you that one deep watering  once a week is good enough for most plants/trees, but strawberries love consistent moisture.  Make this task easier by installing a drip line when possible and DON’T FORGET TO MULCH.  Strawberries will dry out without some kind of mulch, and as their name suggests, straw is one of the best mulches for strawberries.  You should be able to buy a bale of straw for less then 10 dollars and while the bale may look small, it is under a lot of tension.  Once you loosen up the straw a little it will cover a staggering amount of space in your garden.
  • Have fun with it.  There are scores of strawberry varieties will all different tastes, colors, sizes, and smells.  I guarantee you can find one you’ll love more than anything from the grocery store.
Straw Bale for Mulch (Never use hay bales as they may attract pests and have seeds which will sprout in your garden)
Straw Bale for Mulch (Never use hay bales as they may attract pests and have seeds which will sprout in your garden)

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For more information, try some of my favorite strawberry resources online: