When I was a boy in Kentucky I looked forward to the fresh taste of strawberries every spring. Nothing is sweeter than a fresh ripe strawberry plucked from the vine. I would eat all I could and on occasion sell a few baskets on the side of the road for extra money.
Strawberries are native to North America, and the Indians used them in many dishes. Early Americans did not bother cultivating strawberries, because they were abundant in the wild.
Most common varieties today are a hybrid of the wild Virginia strawberry (native to North America) and a Chilean variety discovered in Central and South America.
There are three types of cultivated strawberries that we can choose to grow: June bearing, ever bearing, and day neutral. June bearers are the largest and most common strawberry seen in the grocery stores. They produce over a 2-4 week period in late spring/early summer. Ever bearers produce intermittently throughout the season but produce a smaller fruit. Day neutral varieties produce throughout the season and have smaller berries as well.
When establishing a strawberry patch there are a few guidelines to follow. The strawberry produces more in full sun than in partial or full shade. A sandy loam with good drainage is the ideal soil type. The pH of the soil should be slightly to moderately acidic, ranging from 5.8-6.2.
At the 40 Acre Woods I have sandy acidic soil thanks to the pine trees, perfect for growing strawberries. I have them planted in the ground at the edges of the woods and recently made this strawberry pot out of the end of a plastic barrel.
Putting in a good layer of wood will help keep the plants moist through dry spells when I can’t water them. I added a layer of sandy soil and topped it of with compost before planting. I will mulch these with some pine straw to keep the fruit off the soil.
- Strawberries are fruits, not berries.
- Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside.
- Every strawberry has about 200 seeds.
- It is one of the only temperate climate fruits that do not grow on a tree or a bush.
At the 40 Acre Woods, strawberries are consumed fresh, in pies, preserves, milkshakes, ice-cream and dehydrated. I am looking forward to a great crop.