Strawberries

Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits.  I love the scent and the taste of fresh strawberries and all the delicious things you can make with them.

I am growing Alpine strawberries this year for the first time. Alpine strawberries do not grow runners like other types so they can work well as a border plant or in other areas where you don't want your strawberries to fill in.   The berries on alpines are smaller and some say tastier.  Alpine fruits can be red, yellow, or white depending on the variety.  Birds tend to not eat the yellow and white fruits.

Of the runner types of strawberries there are June bearing which bear their crop all at once, Everbearing which bear for a longer period but not actually the entire season, and Day Neutral which bear for much of the season.  If you want to make jam or have another use where you want a quantity at once June bearing are a good choice.  If you want the harvest spread out you would want Everbearing or Day Neutral.  Why not grow some of each?  Just keep them separate so you know what is what.

Strawberries can be grown in full sun or part shade in well drained, weed free soil.   I grow mine in 4 x 4 Square Foot Garden beds.  The alpines I will plant in the front yard here and there as a ground cover near my currant bushes.

My main strawberry pests are slugs, snails, and birds.  I recently heard the idea of placing red painted rocks in the bed right before the berries ripen to fool the birds.  That way when the berries are ripe they won't want to try them.  You can also use bird netting if you prop it slightly above the bed.  Fake owls, fake snakes (or a piece of garden hose curved to look like a snake), or CDs where they are allowed to move in the breeze may all help scare birds away.  For some slug and snail control ideas check my landscape/garden blog.

Strawberry recipes