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October 27, 2017 11:43 pm

Secrets to Strawberry Success

Saturday, March 19, 2016 @ 3:44 AM

There is no tastier strawberry, than the strawberry you grow yourself.

Growing your own strawberries is very easy and does not require a lot of skill or space. Strawberry plants can be grown directly in the garden, or in containers. There are several varieties that grow very well in our Prince George area including day neutral and June bearing types.

Day neutral varieties produce a large crop in early summer and then will continue to produce berries throughout the summer and into early fall.

June bearing types such as ‘Honeoye’ produce only one large crop every year, usually around the beginning of July, and these are ideal for those gardeners who want to have one large crop for processing and not have to worry about berries for the rest of the season.

Day neutral varieties include the popular ‘TriStar’, known for its ability to bloom and set fruit, regardless of the length of day. ‘Fort Laramie’, is a good choice for growing in containers and hanging baskets. ‘Seascape’, has large, flavourful berries and is a good producer. ‘Quinault’, is another good choice for containers and has large, tasty berries.

When planting strawberry plants in the garden, choose a sunny location, where it will receive at least 6 hours of daily sunlight. The soil should be well drained and is best if it consists of loose loam, mixed with manure and peat moss with a pH of 6.0-6.5 making it slightly acidic.

Strawberries grow best when planted in raised beds or hills and are spaced 25-30 cm apart in rows 50 cm apart. When you are planting the strawberry plant, plant it to the same depth it is in the container. If you are planting a bare root plant, keep the crown of the plant just above the soil surface, spreading the roots out near the surface before covering it with soil, to allow proper air circulation to prevent the crown from rotting. After planting, water the plants in well. During the growing season, water the plants deeply when the soil becomes dry and fertilize plants with 4-19-17 in the spring and then once again in late summer.

Plants grown in containers will need to be protected over the winter months if you want to save them for the following year. The plants will need to be taken out of the container in the fall, and planted in the garden, or the container should be placed in a shed or garage where the temperatures are just above freezing.

In our garden at home, we grow the day neutral types as we enjoy eating fresh strawberries throughout the season. In the fall, when the temperatures go below freezing, we cover the plants over night with a frost protection blanket to protect the fruit from freezing and then uncover them during the day, to allow the pollinators access to the flowers. This works well in extending the growing season.

Every 3-4 years the berries will become smaller on the plants and this is an indicator that the plants are declining and will need to be replaced with new young plants. At home when we know it is time to replace the plants, we start a new patch somewhere new in the garden, the year before, and this way the new patch will be in full production the following year when it is time to take out the old plants.


Jos Van Hage owns and operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden Centres in Prince George

  • Highway 16 west at Kimball Road
  • Highway 97 North at Northwood Pulpmill Road


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