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Characteristics

During the next season we will be rediscovering the maturation and reproduction processes of strawberries. The strawberry varieties that we grow in our garden are mixed, made up primarily of the everbearing type. Everbearing strawberries are convenient since they provide fruits for a longer period of time, bringing in the daily vitamin C that we need in our diet. In previous years we kept strawberries freely on the ground, but this year we decided to create a patch in one of our raised beds. This controlled patch will help us prevent contamination and damage to our fruits by our own pets and by some wild animals, such as squirrels and birds.

Our strawberries are a mix of plants from local garden centers, big box stores like Home Depot and Lowe's, and other sources. Due to this mixture, it is difficult to determine the origin of each plant and its specific variety. Plants reproduce quickly, so it is impossible to keep a record of the origin of each plant and its detailed characteristics, especially newborn plants.

Strawberries are perennial plants, and they are tolerant to the current environmental conditions of our zone 6. Our plants tend to shrink during the winter, and all of them keep most of their leaves. It is common to see some leaves maintain a reddish color after autumn and late spring. Strawberries are strong fighters against adverse environmental conditions, providing a flow of food and vitamins year after year without much maintenance and attention.

Mixed Strawberries

Growing Details

Our strawberries had already grown freely for two seasons on the ground. It wasn't until mid-March 2020 that we moved the plants to one of our raised beds. In 2020 temperatures have been a little warmer than normal, so strawberries began to flower without any problem. The first visible flowers began to appear by the end of March and early April. The temperatures also aided in the plants' rapid adaptation to their new location. We do not observe that the plants have suffered a transplant shock at the time of this update.

Flowering Strawberry

The raised bed used to grow strawberries was previously used to grow cucumbers, so we had to amend the soil with an organic addition that promotes acidification. As a fact, berries require that the soil has some acidification to grow healthy. The light conditions are not very different from when strawberries were growing freely in the soil, so there should not be much difference in stimulating fruit growth compared to previous years. At this time we do not yet know how much water will be required to maintain plant health and maintain fruit production. A new feature in the raised bed is that it does not have mulch, so the water may evaporate more quickly, causing plants to require more frequent watering.

Pests and Diseases

Fortunately during the 2019 season we did not find any disease or pest affecting this variety of strawberry.

Harvesting

The strawberries harvesting in previous years has started in mid-May, and lasts for one or two months depending on conditions. It is recommended that strawberries be picked immediately after they have already changed their color to reddish, and before temperatures become too hot. Otherwise the fruits become very soft and are susceptible to diseases and pests. Once harvested, strawberries can be stored in the fridge, or frozen for long-term use.

Strawberries

Lessons Learned

Allowing plants to grow freely in the soil sounds like a good idea, but this alternative makes harvesting difficult. Many of the fruits are lost because many wild animals manage to grab the fruits before you. We will soon find out if growing strawberries in a raised bed is the best way to grow fruits, and we will make a comparison of fruit production over the next few years.

Fast Facts

FactDate
Date Transplanted:Mar. 15th
Date Flowers Appeared:Mar. 31st
Date Harvesting Started:May 15th