Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Small Fruits & Berries
Getting Ready for Strawberries
by National Gardening Association Editors
Probably nothing beats the taste of a just-picked, sun-ripened strawberry. Strawberries are loaded with natural sugars, but these sugars rapidly convert to starch once the berry is picked. So it is not mere pride that makes a freshly picked home-grown strawberry taste better - it really does. The fresher the berry, the sweeter the taste. Strawberries are high yielders. From a single, well-cared-for 2-year-old plant, you can expect to harvest 1 to 2 quarts of strawberries. That's 50 to 100 quarts of berries from a bed 15 feet long and three plants deep - about 50 plants.
Keep Planting Strawberries
You can maximize yields by continually renewing your strawberry bed with new plants. Many gardeners try to keep old plants producing year after year, but this inevitably leads to decreased yields and increased disease problems. You can start out in the spring with ten plants that will each produce five healthy daughter plants in the first year - and they'll bear an abundant crop of strawberries the second year. Keep two beds in rotation and every year you can count on 50 to 100 quarts of juicy red berries - enough for about thirty strawberry-drenched shortcakes and fifty pints of preserves to enjoy all winter and fifty helpings of Sunday brunch strawberry waffles, not to mention the sweetest possible berries for eating straight out of the garden.
Photography by National Gardening ASsociation.