Planting strawberries is a great hobby and also allows you to savor the wonderful taste of this popular fruit (and in case you didn’t know it strawberries are very good for you too!) in a homegrown and possibly organic way. Strawberries are a seasonal fruit and must be planted at specific times for the area of the Country that you live in. The growing season for each region varies.
Strawberries are grown readily in the Southern States, especially in Florida. The best time to plant in the southern regions such as Florida, southern Georgia, Arkansas and Mississippi is the first of October through the middle of November. Planting during this time frame allows the plants to become well rooted for the fruiting season which begins in the Spring. Because the southern states usually experience an early Spring it is essential to plant the strawberries at the correct time. Although Florida may experience a few frosty nights during the planting season, it is usually not enough to harm the plants.
The best planting time for the Midwestern states is normally sometime in the middle of April. It is best to prepare the soil beforehand if possible by tilling the area a few weeks before you plan to plant. If hard freezes are in the forecast it may be best to wait a few weeks before planting. Strawberries can thrive in temperatures as low as twenty five degrees, but a truly hard freeze may damage or kill the tender plants.
For the Northern States it is recommended that strawberries not be planted until at least the middle of May. It takes a while for the ground temperature to be warm enough to shelter the plants even if the air temperature is above freezing. The further North you live the longer you will need to wait before planting. Extreme northern states may need to wait until as late as the end of June or early July.
After choosing the best time to plant strawberries in your area it is important to remember that the berries are very productive. They don’t require a large space to grow and most plants will produce up to a quart of fruit each during the first season. For the average family, twenty five or thirty plants will usually produce enough berries for eating fresh and possibly enough to use for a few jars of jam or jelly. Most strawberry plants will remain productive for three or four years, but will then need to be replaced with a fresh batch of plants.
Photo by Gianluca Pistilli
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