Strawberries do occupy a special place in my heart. The reason I say this is because whenever I spot a pack of succulent strawberries either at the supermarket or grocery store, my taste buds go into a frenzy. Sometime last year, I decided enough is enough, and I no longer need to torture my taste buds anymore. So, I spent a couple of months researching all I could find about starting a strawberry patch. Wait, and not just an ordinary strawberry patch but one that I was sure would supply me with excellent quality fruits.
So far so good, and now I want to take it upon me to share with you the excellent tips on how you too can start your strawberry patch.
Reasons Why You Should Consider Starting a Strawberry Patch
There are a couple of reasons why you should consider growing your fruits. Top of the list is that you will have 100% control on how they are grown. You can decide to go full organic avoiding pesticides and other inorganic chemicals.
Secondly, when starting your patch, you can choose which types of strawberries to grow.
Types of Strawberries
There are two common types of strawberries that you can choose to grow. These are the perpetual type and the short-day variety. We will discuss each type briefly so that you get a glimpse on what each kind is about.
The common characteristic of the short-day strawberries is that they start flowering during early spring when the days are short. Often with the right timing, you’ll have juicy berries by summertime.
For starters, you can plant more than one type of short-day variety. This will, in turn, produce a bumper harvest starting late spring until late summer. Some of the short-day variety species you can consider are Hapil, Honeoye, and Fenella.
Unlike the short-day variety, perpetual strawberries produce fruit in spells during the summer period. While this can be excellent for some farmers, the plants’ lifespan is around two years after which production dwindles.
However, if you choose to plant the perpetual variety, you can prepare two or more beds. This way you start a new strawberry patch a year before the mature ones are due to exhaust their lifespan.
Strawberry Patch Position and Soil Preparation
The production of your strawberries will very much rely on the amount of sunlight they receive. Select the sunniest part of your farm for your patch.
Next on, start prepping the soil. You can use farm waste compost as manure for your spot.
Additionally, test the soil’s pH level, and nutrient concentration. Strawberries do well in pH of around 6.3 to 6.5. Once you’re confident your soil is fine, create rows with a spacing of 3ft between each. Along each row, dig a hole of about 7inches for each plant. Each plant should be 18inches from the next one.
Planting Strawberry Seedlings
Place a single plant in each hole and gently cover up the roots up to the crown level. Ensure you don’t cover the crown with soil as it will be vulnerable to crown rot. Additionally, when planting your fruits, do it when the temperatures are cool. This protects your plants from dehydration.
As soon as you’re done planting your strawberries you can then mulch the soil around each plant to conserve soil mosture. Use straw, hay or wood shavings as mulch, however, ensure that you don’t cover up your plants. Finally, water your plants. You can use a soil moisture meter to keep track of your patch’s moisture and know when to water it.
Protecting Your Strawberry Patch
Young strawberry plants are prone to be attacked by small animals such as birds that peck on their leaves. It is wise that you set up a deer mesh over your patch to keep birds and other predators away.
This will also come in handy when your plants start flowering and producing fruit.