A Ton of Garden, A Tiny Space: Choosing the Right Strawberries For You

It seems early to talk about growing strawberries, but if you don’t get off your butt and place your order, nurseries may run out of what you want. Some varieties have sold out already. With the recession, we are seeing record numbers of seed sales. Possibly, more than some places can handle.

If you live in an apartment or have limited growing space, start here.

Make some choices and place your order now. Don’t worry. They aren’t shipped to you ’til it’s time to plant them, usually.

One moronic company sent me my stuff in February one year … I just kept them in the crisper of my refrigerator until April. It worked out fine. Although they have forever lost my business.

Oh dear, sorry about the rant. Moving on.

The apartment dweller probably has the least to worry about in his controlled climate, but if you growing your strawberries outside, the choices get trickier.

Let’s begin the adventure.

1. If your growing outside, know your hardiness zone.

Unsure? Click here.

2. Decide.

There are … for our purposes … two main kinds of strawberries. June-bearing and Everbearing. We will look at both to help you make your choice.

June-bearing strawberries will yield one heavy, high quality crop in the late spring or early summer.

If you would like to try canning, a roadside stand, selling to your neighbors …or if you just want to pick them for a week or two to eat fresh, then freeze the rest and be done with it, these are the ones for you.

One thought: they really yield much better if you can pick all the blossoms off and wait for the second season. I know it’s hard, but I promise you will get tons more berries next year and your plants will be stronger, too.

I recommend June-bearing to anyone who would like to continue to cut their grocery bill for several years through these tough economic times. I will help you learn to preserve them, when that time comes. It much easier than you might think. Your grandmother would be proud.

Everbearing – tend to be less vigorous but they produce longer. They peak in summer and often produce right up until fall frost. So, if you just want them on your cereal or to make the occasional Strawberry Short Cake, these are the ones for you. You would need a gazillion plants to ever harvest enough in one shot to do any serious canning.

They are especially nice for little kids who just want to pick a berry to eat every now and then. Go ahead, send the little ones out to forage for their breakfast. It’s a blast to watch.

Personally, I am not an Everbearing fan.

3. Choose what variety you want.

Click here for my favorite chart. I was tearing my hair out until I found this chart. Oh that is soooo much easier.

4. Choose a supplier.

Use your favorite search engine, and find a nursery in a similar planting zone. Best chance for strawberry survival, you know. Don’t forget to compare prices. I generally won’t pay more than $14 for 25 very high quality plants.

Okay, so the chart people from above? They sent me the healthiest stuff last year. Plus, a very nice little booklet that came free with my order– all about planting and caring for the specific plants they sell. Very cool!

5. Place your order

You might want to get a bag of Agrigel, while your at it. 1/4 pound will last the home gardener for many seasons.

As a lazy gardener, who never waters her transplants properly, this stuff has been a life saver. I use it with just about everything I transplant. Last year I used it on 75 raspberries, 50 strawberry plants, a dozen blueberry bushes, 9 currant, 6 gooseberries and a partridge in a pear tree and still have more than half a bag. Plus, it’s messy, inexpensive, and fun. Click here for the proper explanation.

Get that order in. I will write about planting them later in the spring.

Join the adventure, cut your grocery bill, grow a vitamin C rich fruit for you family and have fun!

Other small space growing adventures include:

A Ton of Garden, A Tiny Space–Strawberries for the Apartment Dweller or Suburbanite

Alternative Food Sources: Your Backyard Maple Tree

Beginner Gardening-Windowsill Herbs

Alternative Food Sources

Sprouting New Ideas…Your Own Food

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Published in: on February 16, 2009 at 11:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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