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Strawberries

Soft, delicate strawberries don't travel well, so they are usually shipped unripe, which means the sweetest, most fragrant berries can only be had by growing your own. Once established, a well-managed bed will produce strawberries for up to five years. Some strawberries can be grown from seeds, but it is easier and faster to start with plants (called crowns) from a good nursery. When planting, be sure to leave the centers of the plants uncovered. For best results, pinch off all flowers for the first season to encourage bigger, healthier plants and a good crop for the second season. Varieties may be early-season, mid-season, late-season, or everbearing. Plant a mix of types to extend the season.

Habit
Compact perennials spread by runners produced by the main plant.

Days to Harvest
Depends on season and variety.

When to Plant
Strawberries are hardy, and can be planted as soon as the soil can be prepared.

Light
Full sun to light shade.

Soil
Rich, loose soil with plenty of organic matter.

Watering
Do not allow to dry out.

Fertilizing
Strawberries require very fertile soil; amend with compost and apply an organic liquid fertilizer throughout fruit set.

Pest Problems
Slugs may eat fruit. Use bait containing pet-safe iron phosphate or set out saucers of beer as traps.

When to Harvest
From the second season onward, strawberries can be harvested when red and juicy.

Recipes
Strawberry Tartlets
Rhubarb and Strawberry Ice Cream
Strawberry Cake