Growing Berries at Home

Growing berries at home used to require specialized knowledge, lots of gardening space and plenty of patience. Today, more varieties of strawberries available than ever before, making it easy for home gardeners to find a variety that will flourish in their area’s climate. People are also discovering new methods of growing berries at home, from garden pots and planters to hanging baskets and vertical gardens.

Although the plants are actually perennials, both home and commercial growers typically treat them as annuals. The easiest way to garden with strawberries is to purchase the plants as soon as they appear in local nurseries. In areas with mild winters, that may be in late summer or autumn for a spring harvest. In cold-weather regions, strawberries are usually planted in spring and harvested the following year.

Strawberries enjoy a sunny location and well-drained soil. Because the plants have a small, light-weight root system, they are an ideal choice for vertical gardens and hanging baskets. They will also do well in pots and planters. Strawberries generally grow six to eight inches tall, producing small white flowers that develop into fruit. With strawberry gardening, it’s important to keep the crown of the plant slightly above the level of the soil to prevent rot.

The soil will need to be kept moist but not saturated throughout the fruit-bearing season. Mulch helps to retain moisture and deters weed. Strawberries propagate by sending out long runners. Home gardeners can encourage runners for heavy yields of small berries or can remove them to promote smaller yields of larger fruit. Today, anyone can enjoy the delicious treat of fresh-picked strawberries at home.

Photos by: ewen and donabelvolantra

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