Growing your own food is a great way to save money at any time, but it is especially beneficial during times of rising food prices. Strawberries are popular, and therefore easy to find for gardening purposes. They can be inexpensive to purchase and to nurture. They can also be quite versatile, because they are able to grow in several different climates, and with a limited amount of space. And finally, eating home grown strawberries is often regarded as the greatest benefit of the process. Growing strawberries at home is as simple as following a step by step outline.
The first step in growing strawberries is deciding what kind of strawberries to grow. They come in many different varieties, some are sweeter than others and the different varieties have different growing and picking seasons. Alpine strawberries are similar to wild strawberries. They will bear fruit throughout the summer months and require the least maintenance. They are generally smaller and sweeter than June bearing strawberries. June strawberries are usually the largest and juiciest strawberry. They will require slightly more care and will only yield fruit once per year. June bearing strawberries are what most people will find in their local grocery store.
After deciding what type of strawberry to grow, the strawberry grower must decide what method will be used to grow the fruit. They are traditionally grown in a strawberry patch or small garden, however, they can also be grown indoors, or in hanging baskets to compensate for limited garden space. Indoor plants can be grown hydroponically, while plants grown in a hanging basket are grown in the same manner as a garden. No matter how the growing is to take place, the grower must decide on wether to begin the process by planting seeds or by purchasing young strawberry plants for transplanting. Young plants can be bought from most plant nurseries. The best time to buy them is in the fall, because of reduced prices.
It is important that the strawberries be planted in an environment free of weeds, as strawberry plant have shallow roots that prove little competition for aggressively growing weeds. It is also vital that the strawberries be planted in an area that will receive plenty of sunlight. There is a high correlation between the amount of sunlight a plant receives and the size and amounts of berries that it yields.
To grow the optimum strawberries, water them very little in the winter time. When the summer months arrive, they will need approximately one inch of water per week. Weeds should be removed by hand as soon as they are spotted. Lastly, being that most strawberry plants bear fruit in early summer, they can be more susceptible to frost than other plants. If a frost is predicted, cover the plants with a blanket in order to protect them.
The final step of the process is to pick and eat the strawberries. The berries should be picked as soon as they ripen, and then stored in a cool dark place to preserve them for as long as possible. Finally, prepare the strawberries however you desire and enjoy eating them.