Bountiful crops are possible with a little effort. By Richard Jauron Extension Horticulturist Iowa State University Fresh strawberries are an irresistible treat. They taste great on cereal, pancakes, waffles, and ice cream. They also make excellent jams, jellies, and pies.
- Strawberries are well suited to home gardens.
- They are hardy, easy to grow, and produce a good crop with moderate effort.
- Early spring (April to early May) is the best time to plant strawberries in Iowa.
- Home gardeners can choose from three types of strawberries.
- June-bearers are the most widely planted type of strawberry.
They produce one crop per year, the majority of fruit ripening in June. A second type of strawberry is the everbearing strawberry. Everbearing varieties typically produce June and late summer/early fall crops with little flowering or fruiting in the intervening weeks.
- Day-neutral varieties are the third type of strawberry.
- Day-neutral varieties can flower and fruit throughout the growing season if temperatures are moderate.
- Flower and fruit production stop during hot weather.
- Suggested June-bearing strawberry varieties for Iowa include ‘Earliglow,’ ‘Allstar,’ ‘Honeoye,’ ‘Surecrop,’ ‘Redchief,’ ‘Jewel,’ and ‘Kent.’ ‘Ozark Beauty’ and ‘Ogallala’ are good everbearing varieties.
‘Tristar’ and ‘Tribute’ are the best performing day-neutral varieties. When selecting a planting site, choose an area that receives full sun and has a well-drained soil. Planting sites should receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Leaf and root diseases are often problems in poorly drained, wet soils.
- Do not plant in areas that are heavily infested with perennial weeds.
- Perennial weeds, such as quackgrass, are extremely difficult to control in a strawberry planting.
- Also, avoid sites where strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers have been grown the last two years to prevent possible root disease problems.
Purchase virus-free strawberry plants from a reputable garden center or mail-order company. Plants from an old planting are often disease infested. If planting must be delayed after purchase, place moist material, such as wood shavings or sphagnum moss, around the roots and place the plants in a plastic bag.
- Store the plants in the refrigerator at 32 to 40 degrees F.
- They can be safely stored in the refrigerator for one to two weeks.
- Remove the strawberry plants from storage when ready to plant.
- Trim off the older leaves, place the roots of the plants in water for an hour, then plant immediately.
- Set each plant in the ground so the crown of the plant is even with the soil surface.
The type of strawberry determines plant spacing. June-bearing strawberries should be planted 18 to 24 inches apart in rows spaced 4 feet apart. Runners will develop and root freely to form a matted row about 2 feet wide. Everbearing and day-neutral strawberries are typically planted in beds consisting of 2 or 3 rows.
- Rows are spaced 1 foot apart.
- Plants are spaced 1 foot apart within the rows.
- A 2-foot-wide path should separate the beds.
- Any runners that develop on everbearing and day-neutral strawberries should be removed and the plants maintained as large, single plants.
- Immediately after planting, water the strawberry plants and apply a starter fertilizer solution to aid establishment.
A starter fertilizer solution can be prepared by dissolving 1 or 2 tablespoons of an all-purpose garden fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, in one gallon of water. Apply 1 to 2 cups to each plant. A starter fertilizer solution can also be prepared using a water soluble fertilizer.
Follow label directions when preparing the solution. During the first growing season all the blossoms should be removed from June-bearing strawberries. Remove all blossoms on everbearing and day-neutral strawberries until early July. Any flowers which bloom after this period may be allowed to develop into fruit.
Flower removal aids plant establishment. Strawberries are an excellent crop for the home garden. When properly planted and given good care, one strawberry plant can yield 1 to 1-1/2 quarts of fruit. Contacts : Richard Jauron, Horticulture, (515) 294-1871, [email protected]
Do strawberries grow well in Iowa?
Yard and Garden: Planting, Growing and Maintaining Strawberries AMES, Iowa – Strawberries are well suited for any home garden. They are hardy, easy to grow and produce a good crop with moderate effort. Early spring is one of the best times to plant strawberries in Iowa and knowing when to plant and how to grow and maintain the strawberries is key to producing a successful crop.
How do you winterize strawberries in Iowa?
Winterizing Strawberry Plants Protecting strawberry plants from winter’s cold temperatures is vital to ensure a crop of juicy berries next year. Winterizing strawberry plants isn’t difficult or expensive. It’s actually an easy chore on your garden to-do list.
- Learn tips for winterizing strawberry plants.
- By the time fall frosts arrive, strawberry plants have already set buds for next spring’s flowers.
- Temperatures below 15° F can damage those new buds and diminish your berry crop next year.
- This is why it’s vital to winterize strawberry plants and protect them from cold winter air.
Another reason to protect plants is that, when soil repeatedly freezes and thaws, it tends to push plants up. This process is called heaving and puts plants at risk in several ways. First, it can expose plant crowns to drying air, freezing air temperatures and hungry critters looking for a winter meal.
- Second, heaving can break roots, allowing them to be lifted completely out of soil.
- Either results in plant damage or death.
- Winterizing strawberry plants helps prevent heaving.
- Winterizing strawberry plants simply involves heaping mulch over plants so they’re not exposed to cold winter air.
- The trick is knowing when to apply the mulch.
You want to cover plants when they’re fully dormant. Cover too soon, and plants may fail to harden off, which means they’ll definitely be damaged by cold air. A too-soon mulch also risks rotting plant crowns. It’s safe to apply winterizing mulch to strawberry plants when the top one-half inch of soil has frozen and daytime temperatures stay consistently in the 20s.
In mild winter areas, apply mulch once soil temperatures hit 40° F for three days in a row. Definitely winterize strawberry plants before temperatures dip below 20° F. Precise timing varies depending on region. Fine-tune the timing with a call to your local extension office. To winterize strawberry plants, heap a loose mulch over plants to a depth of 3 to 5 inches.
Use a material that won’t compact heavily. Good choices include straw, clean hay, bark chips, chopped cornstalks or cobs, evergreen branches or pine straw. Materials like leaves or grass clippings aren’t a good choice because they tend to mat. After mulch settles, it should still provide a 2- to 3-inch depth for best protection.
Using a frost blanket to winterize strawberry plants is another great choice because it allows light to reach plants, which results in more flower buds being formed. The tricky part is that plants experience faster flower development in spring, which means they’ll be at greater risk for cold damage if you fail to protect plants when a late-season frost is predicted.
To winterize strawberry plants in a pyramid, apply mulch 6 to 8 inches deep. Wrap large strawberry pots or barrels with burlap and/or bubble wrap and stuff the top opening with straw 6 to 8 inches deep. Move strawberry jars into an unheated garage for winter.
How long is strawberry season in Iowa?
(in chronological order of ripening)
|Apples||July to Oct|
|Watermelon||Mid July to mid Sept|
|Peaches||July and August|
Do strawberries need to be covered in fridge?
The Best Way to Store Strawberries According to Food Network Experts Natasha Breen / Getty Images By Amanda Neal for Food Network Kitchen Amanda Neal is a recipe developer at Food Network. Those first fresh, vibrant strawberries of the season are like little edible gems telling us that winter is over.
- Though hardier than some other berries, soft and sweet strawberries do require some special care and safe keeping to help them last.
- If you’re planning to eat your strawberries right away, storing strawberries at room temperature on your kitchen counter is the best option — they’ll lose a bit of luster and flavor in the fridge.
However, if you want to prolong their lifespan for use in baked goods and other recipes, the refrigerator will become your best bet. Here are some tips for storing strawberries in your refrigerator to keep them fresh throughout the season. When stored properly, strawberries will stay firm and fresh for about a week.
It’s important to keep strawberries very dry and cold. To do this, line a plate, baking sheet or shallow glass bowl with a couple paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Place your unwashed strawberries on top in a single layer, then cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use, ideally within seven days.
If you notice one of the strawberries going bad or turning moldy, immediately remove it and discard. Mold spreads easily and quickly, so it’s crucial to keep an eye on your strawberries for any spoilage. You don’t want one bad berry to ruin the whole bunch! Here are a few important tips for how to store strawberries in the refrigerator: Strawberries will stay their freshest when dry and cold, and any added moisture will soften the strawberries and encourage mold growth.
So instead of washing all of your berries right when you get home from the store, wash them as you plan to eat or prepare them. Keep those little, frilly green stems on your fresh strawberries when storing in the refrigerator. Having the stems intact will protect the interior of your berries and prolong their shelf life.
Your strawberries will stay best when not crushed by layers of berries on top of them. If you’re planning to keep your strawberries for a longer period of time, your best bet is to freeze them. Remove the stems, then quarter or thinly slice the berries.
- Place the strawberries on a parchment paper-lined plate or baking sheet, then freeze until solid, at least 30 minutes.
- Transfer to a resealable freezer bag, and store for up to 3 months.
- This method will allow you to easily thaw and snack on your in-season strawberries, or simply throw frozen berries into smoothies and frozen beverages.
Kate Mathis, © 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved Baked with a golden biscuit topping, this dessert makes the most of sweet strawberries. To ensure the filling sets correctly, let the cobbler cool completely before serving. Kate Mathis, © 2016, Television Food Network, G.P.
- All Rights Reserved This light and springy dessert satisfies the cheesecake lover, but is a bit easier to make.
- It’s a great way to use up your strawberries.
- Sweet strawberry and tart rhubarb are a match made in heaven.
- Serve this cake with a dollop of whipped cream.
- Presenting the ultimate summer dessert.
We promise you’ll want to be saving this recipe. This buckle screams summer, thanks to the generous helping of fresh blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. We boosted the flavors by adding a good amount of lemon zest to the tender cake and a pinch of nutmeg and ginger to the sweet crumb topping.