Patience is a virtue…
Good things come to those who wait…
These mottos fit many circumstances, but they're especially appropriate for the harvest from our Bare-Root Strawberry Plants.
Shipped in the spring, at the end of April, planting our bare-root strawberry plants is the easy part. Just choose a spot that receives at least six hours of sunlight each day and is within hose-reach of your water source; then watch our short video to see how easy it is to plant your own strawberry patch. You can also read our article with growing tips and fun facts.For the healthiest start, we suggest you use a water soluble or controlled-release fertilizer as recommended, usually once a month. It is also important to provide regular and consistent moisture for your strawberry plants if rain is not plentiful.
And then remember those oh-so-true clichÃ©s and wait for it
It is the waiting for those first juicy berries that will be the hard part, though there is plenty to be said for watching your plants grow and mature. Throughout the first spring and summer your plants will be growing strong, healthy root systems underground, while putting on full, leafy tops and cheery white blossoms above ground. Exciting as these new leaves and flowers will be, the blossoms should be pinched off this first season, before the berries start to form. This step is vital for growing the strongest strawberry plants, ensuring a healthier root system and larger plants next spring. Just consider it a teaching moment for your children or grandchildren (and maybe even a lesson in patience for an adult in your household). Don't give in to temptation and let those berries form.
Wait for It
As winter approaches and the leaves on your berry patch start to turn brown, add a few inches of straw, the go-to mulch material for strawberries, covering the plants completely. This will provide protection during the winter months, especially if you don't live where the ground has at least a few inches of snow throughout most of the winter. Straw will insulate your plants, just as snow can, retaining moisture and keeping them from heaving out of the ground, possibly killing them. Then, next spring, as new growth appears, simply brush or rake the straw into the area between the plants, and you'll have to water and weed less. Feed your plants at this time, as well. Most of our customers use Neptune's Harvest or High-Yield.
Wait for It
Late spring or early summer will bring those pretty white blossoms again. This is the time to use a fertilizer high in phosphorous, the result being more prolific blossoms with a more plentiful harvest of fruit.
NowGo for it!
Now you can harvest! You'll want to check your strawberry bed daily once fruit starts to ripen. Make sure to gently lift those leaves out of the way to get the berries underneath. You don't want any of your very first strawberries to go to waste and the more diligent you are about picking them, the more your plants are likely to produce.
From here on out, you can maintain this strawberry bed for years. You'll know when the harvest begins to decline that it is time to thin your berry patch in order to rejuvenate and perpetuate the growth. This usually happens every 3 to 5 years. You will be removing the oldest plants, making room for the younger plants to send out more runners and allowing more aeration to the root systems of the remaining plants. We've seen strawberry beds that are decades old, as long as they are maintained; and a little maintenance goes a long, long way.
So, a year goes by pretty quickly. This year you may have to rely on the produce aisle or the local farmers' market, but next year, and for many years to come, you'll be harvesting strawberries from plants you bought.
How many should you plant? We've done the research and you can find the answer here.
Pre-order your bare root strawberry plants.