One strawberry plant is never enough!
The truth is, one plant will never, ever be enough, even if just for one person! The average strawberry plant produces up to 1 quart of strawberriest. And this is only when it’s in good production mode, with good growing conditions (estimating a harvesting season to lasts 3 to 4 weeks.)
To put it in perspective, that is only two of those little pint baskets you can get in the grocery store. One person can eat that many strawberries, fresh out of the basket, in a few days (if they’ll last that long). On the other hand, if you will be slicing and sugaring for strawberry shortcake or making pies or parfaits, these same 2 pints of berries will not go quite as far. Processing tends to reduce the volume by 25%.
So More Than One Strawberry Plant, But Exactly How Many?
The consensus among the experts estimates about 6 nicely producing strawberry plants per person per year. If you’re eating them fresh. If you are going to be freezing them, making jellies or jams or processing for syrup, you should at least double the number of plants. And quite possibly triple that number.
You’ll also want to take into account the number of friends and family members who will want some fresh strawberries for themselves. AND the kids or grandkids and big kids who may be visiting and raiding your strawberry patch. A lot of strawberry gardeners make gifts of jellies, jams and syrups. If you have a giving nature, plant a few more plants.
How Long Will the Plants Produce Fruit?
This part is up to you. Some strawberry beds have been in production for years. This involves harvesting and replanting runners as they become overcrowded. It also has to do with continuing nutrition, the care the strawberries receive in late summer and early fall, the buds forming at that time becoming the following spring’s strawberries, and the protection provided throughout the winter, if needed where you live. However, even under the best growing conditions, strawberry plants will start dropping in production after 5 years.
The largest single reason for poor strawberry production in the spring is the lack of moisture provided during those critical late summer and early fall months. Regardless if you are buying strawberry plants to start a brand new strawberry patch or have a well-established bed, a drip irrigation system is an inexpensive and ultimately priceless investment in the quality and production of your home-grown strawberries. To get off to the best possible start, read this article on when to plant your strawberry plants.
If you’re having a winter that is colder than usual, or if you live in an area where winters are freezing cold but your plants don’t have a covering of snow to insulate them: protect your plants! Cover them with straw for a nice layer of protection. This keeps the plants from heaving out of the ground. Which is one of the most common reason for strawberry plant loss.
We wish you many happy, strawberry filled seasons ahead!