It’s Stawberry Season

Who doesn’t love strawberries?  No matter how small or large your patio or garden is you should have room for a few  strawberries. I grew my first strawberries years ago in a clay pot with openings along the sides of them for the  plants. My daughter Ruby was 3 years old at the time and loved to get up every morning and try and find the one ripe strawberry that had her name on it.  I still grow strawberries today and realize how many different varieties there are. I usually get my strawberry plants from a nursery or even Home Depot but this year I am going to order from online. Here are a few helpful tips on growing strawberries that I got from the San Diego times garden section.

strawberry in hands

Edible strawberries fall into some basic categories:

June-bearing strawberries, or short day –  flower in the short of the days of spring. The fruits ripen over 2 or 3 weeks around June. These are good if you want to harvest it all at once. Chandler and Sequoia make delicious sweet fruit.

Ever-bearing strawberries, or day neutral – flower and set fruit from about July to September no matter what.  It takes longer to flower or fruit but you are sure to get strawberries all the time.  I’ve been told that “Seascape ” which has large tasty fruit and “Tristan”  which has deep magenta pink flowers and good varieties to try.

Alpine strawberries – These plants have tiny flowers and tiny red or yellow berries that pack a mighty flavor.  These plants don’t make runners. Buy them as starts or start from seed instead.  Red-fruited “Mignonette” is a classic as is :Alpine Yellow” named for the color of it’s fruit.

TIP……Before you purchase  your strawberry plants,  do a taste test if possible.  Different varities have their own flavor.


You will need full sun, rich soil and moisture.  You will need to soak bare-root strawberries in water for an hour or two before planting. If you are planting in a garden bed, make sure each plant is 12″ apart  with 18″ between rows.  I live in San Diego and will need to amend my soil with organic compost, 60/40 because my soil is clay otherwise you can get away with 50/50.  When your strawberries are in a raised bed or container they can be much closer together. Make sure your potting soil is of the highest quality.  Always add worm castings and glandular organic fertilizer high in phosphorus such as 3:12:12 or3:7:4 to the soil.  Always follow the label directions and saturate the soil before planing.

Plant the strawberries so the roots are completely covered and the crown (where the roots meet the leaves) sits slightly above the soil surface to avoid chances of the crown rotting.  Keep the soil damp, not wet.  I use drip irrigation and find it to be the best. Mulch with straw or for a quicker harvest spread clear plastic over hte soil to heat it up quickly. A band of copper tape around a raised bed or container keeps slugs and snails away. Iron phosphate slug and snail bait works too. I use Sluggo OMRI. There is also a formulation that targets earwigs and pill bugs.

Pluck off the strawberry flowers for the first month or two for the first month or two after planting. This forces the plants’ energy into the leaves and roots needed to support a healthy crop.  Harvest strawberries when the fruits are slightly soft and deep red (except for yellow alpine strawberries of course).

Strawberries tend to produce the best strawberries in the first 2 years and then taper off.  You can always clip off all the runners in the first year and in year two, allow some of the runners to root.  In year three, discard the original mother plants and allow more new runners to root. Keep this rotation going to always have productive 1 and 2 year old plants.  Then all you have to do is enjoy.