It is no surprise that sweet, fragrant strawberries are the most widely cultivated small fruit in the United States. In fact, annual consumption of strawberries is more than seven pounds per capita, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At only 25 calories per half cup, this low-calorie fruit is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, anthocyanins, flavonoids, and phenolic acids.
- That’s the good news.
- The bad news is that the fruits are soft and highly perishable.
- Most strawberries consumed in the U.S.
- Are grown commercially in California or Florida and shipped all over the country.
- To compensate for their fragile nature, the berries are harvested for shipping before they are fully ripe, which impacts the flavor.
Once picked, they do not ripen further. Also, most commercially grown strawberries are reported to be heavily sprayed for pests and diseases. Growing your own strawberries allows you to pick them at their peak of flavor and control what chemicals, if any, to use on your plants. Ripe strawberries ready to be enjoyed. Photo: Pixabay ABOUT STRAWBERRIES The strawberries we enjoy these days are the result of a cross ( Fragaria x ananassa ) that occurred in the late 1700s between our wild native Virginia strawberry ( Fragaria virginiana ) and a variety from South America ( Fragaria chiloensis ). Strawberry plant showing stolon and daughter plants. Photo: CC-2.0-Generic
Crown – This is essentially a compressed stem that produces leaves, roots, stolons, and flowering fruit stalks. Foliage – The leaves are trifoliate, which means they consist of three leaflets. They grow low to the ground and can form a very attractive ground cover over the growing season. Roots – Although they grow to about 6 inches deep in the soil, most of a strawberry plant’s roots are contained in the top 3 inches of soil, which makes the plant susceptible to both drought and excess moisture conditions. Stolons – Commonly referred to as runners, stolons are unique, specialized stems that grow horizontally from buds at the base of the leaves. They spread out or “run” above ground and produce clones (“daughter” plants) at nodes spaced at intervals along the leafless stems. This is how strawberry plants propagate themselves. Flowering Fruit Stalk – This structure, which is called an inflorescence, produces flowers followed by fruits about 30 days later. The terminal (end) flower blooms first and produces the largest berry, which is called the “king” berry. The remaining flowers open sequentially producing berries that are slightly smaller than the king berry.
TYPES OF STRAWBERRIES Strawberry plants are categorized as either June-bearing (short-day) or day neutral, They may look identical, but they differ in growth habits as well as flowering and fruiting characteristics. The type you choose to grow depends on your anticipated uses for them.
June-bearing (short-day), This is the most popular type of strawberry grown in the U.S. The “short-day” name refers to the conditions under which the plant forms flower buds. The buds are formed in the fall when days are shorter than 14 hours or when temperatures are below 60°F. June-bearing plants produce one large crop of large, juicy berries over a period of several weeks during May or June.
The actual dates when the berries are ripe may fluctuate from year to year depending on weather conditions and the cultivar being grown. By planting several cultivars of June-bearing strawberries, it’s possible to extend the season a bit. For example, Camino Real ripens early to mid-season followed by Chandler and then Flavorfest with some overlap between cultivars.
They produce one large crop over a short period of time, which is advantageous for processing large batches of berries for jam or preserves or for freezing them. They bear the largest fruits of the strawberry types. They generate a lot of runners, which produce lots of new plants. They produce for about three years on average before they become non-productive.
Disadvantages of growing June-bearing cultivars:
The blossoms should be pinched off the first season to allow the plants to develop strong root systems and vigorous shoots. This means no fruit the first year but a bigger and better harvest the following years. A late frost can damage the blossoms, particularly of the earliest blooming cultivars. They produce a large crop of fruit for only a few weeks, but then they are done for the season. The beds need to be rejuvenated periodically to keep the plants productive.
Day-neutral, This type of strawberry is not influenced by day length. In other words, day-neutral plants bloom and set fruit throughout the entire growing season, which is good news for strawberry lovers who want a steady supply rather than one large crop in June.
- The plants do stop producing flowers and berries when summer temperatures are above 86°F, but they start producing again once temperatures cool down.
- Day-neutral strawberries are smaller than the June-bearing type because the plant must exert a lot of energy to continue producing throughout the growing season.
Blossoms should be removed from first year plants through June. As of July, the plants should be allowed to bloom and set fruit for the rest of the growing season. That way, you get a strong, vigorous plant as well as a crop of berries from late summer through fall of the first year.
They produce a good yield the first growing season they are planted despite having blossoms removed in the early part of summer. They bear fruit throughout the growing season well into fall.
Disadvantages of growing day-neutral cultivars:
Although this is not necessarily a disadvantage, the berries are smaller than those of the June-bearing type. The plants generally last only one or two years before they need to be replaced. In fact, commercial growers tend to treat day-neutral plants as annuals. The plants don’t produce as many runners as the June-bearing type.
Everbearing, There is some confusion between day-neutral strawberries and a type called “everbearing.” The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably because both types produce more than one crop per year. Despite the name, everbearing cultivars produce only two crops of strawberries per year – one good-sized crop in early summer and a smaller one in late summer with a gap between the two.
Also, this type doesn’t produce many runners. Everbearing cultivars have been largely replaced by newer day-neutral cultivars that bear fruit all season long, produce more runners, are more productive, and produce better quality fruit. Ozark Beauty and Quinault are examples of the everbearing type. Alpine,
This is a type of day-neutral strawberry that grows all season long, but it is a different species altogether ( Fragaria vesca ). This European variety looks similar to the tiny wild strawberries that grow here in the U.S. The fruits are very small and cone-shaped with an intense strawberry flavor.
- They don’t spread by runners like other varieties do, so the plants are easier to manage.
- Alpine strawberries are not typically grown commercially because the fruit is too small and fragile.
- However, because of their remarkable flavor, they are worth trying in the home garden.
- Alexandria is an example of an Alpine variety.
CULTURAL REQUIREMENTS FOR GROWING STRAWBERRIES Strawberry plants are compact in size and take up very little space in the garden. They are ideal for homeowners with limited garden space to grow. The plants can be grown in a pot on a sunny patio, a window box, a hanging basket, a barrel, a strawberry pot, or in a pyramid shaped planter, which can be designed to fit the available space.
SITE – Strawberries require full sun all day or at least 8 hours. So choose a sunny site that drains well. The site should also be free of low spots that trap frosty air in early spring when the plants are in bloom. A south-facing gentle slope or the top of a hill is ideal. SOIL – Strawberries produce best in fertile soil with a pH of 5.9 to 6.5. The soil should be loose, free of clods, and free of weeds. Because good drainage is essential for strawberries, the soil should be amended with compost or other organic matter to improve drainage. Excess moisture at the root zone can promote fungal diseases and deprive the roots of oxygen needed for respiration purposes. For this reason, most sources recommend planting strawberries in raised beds or berms. WATER – Because of their shallow root system, strawberries require about 1 to 1-1/2 inches of water per week. This is particularly important for day-neutral strawberry varieties. Provide supplemental water, preferably through drip irrigation, as needed to dampen the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Proper moisture levels are particularly important at several critical times during the life of a strawberry plant : (1) when newly installed plants are getting established, (2) when berries are sizing up before and during harvest, and (3) in late summer through fall when the buds for next year’s fruits are forming. NUTRIENTS – When starting a new strawberry bed, have the soil tested several months in advance and amend it based on test results. In the absence of a soil test, about two or three weeks before planting strawberry plants in a new bed, broadcast four pounds of balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer per 100 linear feet of row. MULCH – A 2- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch, such as straw (from whence this berry gets its name) placed around the plants will help control weeds, conserve moisture, and prevent ripening fruit from touching the soil.
ESTABLISHING A STRAWBERRY BED The Virginia Cooperative Extension advises planting virus-free strawberry plugs in late fall or dormant crowns in early spring about three to four weeks before the average date of the last frost, which is generally April 15 to 25 in USDA zone 7a.
If you can inspect plants before you buy them, look for specimens with a crown diameter of at least 1/2″ or more. Plants of that size will establish faster and produce runners sooner than plants with a smaller crown diameter. Before planting the plugs or crowns in the prepared bed, make sure they are well hydrated and not dried out.
A soaking in water for about 1/2 hour before planting may be beneficial. Space plants at least a foot or more apart in rows that are about 2 to 3 feet apart. Position each plant in the planting hole so that the base of the crown is at soil level and the roots are just covered with soil. Plant strawberry crowns at soil level (middle plant). Source: VCE Publication 426-840 HARVESTING STRAWBERRIES Strawberries are normally ready for harvest about 30 days after bloom. Once a strawberry turns completely red with no white showing, the color signals that the sugar content is at its highest and the flavor is at its peak. This strawberry is not yet ready for picking. Photo: Pixabay To avoid bruising the fruits as you harvest them, don’t grasp and tug them from their stems. Instead, either pinch or snip them from the stem. Leave the green caps attached as well as a bit of the stem.
This helps prolong the life of the berry. Harvest all ripe berries, even the spoiled or damaged ones. Any ripe ones left on the vines are an invitation for insect infestations and fungal diseases. Because strawberries are fragile and easily bruised, don’t pile them too deeply in containers. Refrigerate the berries unwashed until you are ready to use them.
Then, gently rinse and pat them dry just before using. SEASONAL CARE OF THE STRAWBERRY BED To keep a strawberry bed healthy and productive throughout the growing season, monitor it for moisture and nutrient requirements, look for signs of insect or pest damage, and keep it weeded and otherwise well maintained.
Early spring is normally the ideal time to establish a new strawberry bed once the soil is dry enough to be worked. However, if the weather is colder or wetter than normal, wait until a little later in spring when conditions are more conducive. For established strawberry beds, leave mulch in place to protect the plants from a dip in night-time temperatures.
Remove the straw mulch from established strawberry beds when the plants resume growing. Move the mulch aside where it will help block weeds and keep the berries clean from rain splash up and mud. In the event of a late frost, spread the mulch back over the plants to protect them from freezing. Check older June-bearing plants for new roots that have formed higher on the crown of the plant and are exposed above ground. Mound some soil over the exposed roots to help support the base of the plant and provide good contact between the roots and the soil. Start controlling weeds as soon as they appear in spring and continue to monitor throughout the entire growing season. With the onset of warmer weather, weeds become an issue in the strawberry bed because they compete with strawberry plants’ shallow roots for moisture and nutrients. They may also harbor pests and diseases. As plants start to bloom in April or May, top dress the bed with compost, well-rotted manure, or an organic fertilizer.
Check that there’s enough mulch around the plants to keep the ripening berries off the soil. To protect ripening fruit from birds or other wildlife, such as deer, rabbits, mice and voles, drape plastic bird netting over the rows and secure around the edges to prevent access to the berries.
Harvest ripe strawberries early in the day after they have dried off from dew. Inspect the strawberry bed daily for any signs of insect damage or disease. Remove any spoiled or rotting fruits.
Inspect strawberry plants for any unhealthy (diseased) crowns and remove them. To keep plants neatly contained within rows, position runners so that they can root within the row. Let them continue growing until the row is about two feet wide.
Monitor moisture and provide supplemental water as necessary. Lack of water now affects the yield of next year’s berry crop.
Continue monitoring moisture levels and provide supplemental water if the weather is dry. Keep monitoring and removing weeds as they appear.
For a fall planting of strawberries, October is ideal while temperatures are still warm. The plants will have plenty of time to develop good strong roots before doing dormant in winter. If you plan to plant strawberries next spring instead, this is a good time to prepare the planting site so that the soil will be loosened and free of rocks and weeds.
Give the entire bed a final weeding to help reduce weeding requirements for next spring. After strawberry plants go dormant, which is generally late November or December, apply a 2- to 4-inch layer of straw over the bed. This will help protect the plants from cold weather, fluctuating temperatures, and soil heaving.
TROUBLESHOOTING PESTS – Strawberry plants may be bothered by aphids, mites, Japanese beetles, thrips, slugs, and snails. To minimize damage, practice good garden sanitation by removing weeds, grass, and plant debris. Organic solutions include handpicking pests such as beetles, slugs and snails or directing a strong spray of water to dislodge aphids, mites and other smaller pests.
Use floating row covers to protect plants from Japanese beetles. Avoid planting strawberries near onions or garlic, which might attract thrips. For extensive information on common pests and diseases of strawberry plants with lots of good photos, visit the plantvillage.psu.edu/topics/strawberry website.
DISEASES – Fungal diseases such as Verticillium wilt can also be an issue. Many problems can be avoided or greatly reduced by buying certified disease-free plants from a reputable nursery. Also, good air flow and elevation above grade in raised beds help reduce fungal diseases.
- Avoid siting a new bed for strawberries where you’ve grown black raspberries or members of the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant) that experienced problems with Verticillium wilt in the past.
- Place straw around plants to keep ripening berries from touching the soil.
- Eep the plants picked of all ripe and rotting fruit and remove any foliage that appears diseased.
As plants begin to decline, which usually occurs after about three years, replace them with new plants. For more information on common fungal diseases of strawberries and recommended treatments, see Clemson Cooperative Extension publication on Growing Strawberries HGIC-1405,
- REJUVENATING A STRAWBERRY BED Well-tended June-bearing strawberry plants produce lots of runners, which can grow into a thick mat of roots and foliage.
- As the bed becomes crowded, the plants produce smaller berries that can be difficult to find under the heavy foliage.
- To solve the problem, rejuvenate the bed about every three years.
This should be done soon after the harvest is finished so that the plants have time to develop new leaves and set flower buds for next year’s crop. To rejuvenate a June-bearing strawberry bed, start by removing any mulch and weeds from the bed. Clip or mow the tops of the plants to within 1″ to 1-1/2″ of the crown.
Rake up and remove all clipped foliage. If you plan to keep the plants in rows, use a hoe, spade, or hand trowel to narrow the rows to about 12″ wide. Thin the plants within the rows to one every 6″ to 8″ apart in all directions, removing the oldest (mother) plants but keeping the healthiest and most vigorous of the runner (daughter) plants.
Fertilize the plants with a quickly soluble nitrogen fertilizer such as ammonium nitrate at 0.25 to 0.50 pound or apply 1 to 2 pounds of a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 feet of row and water in well. This will promote robust new top growth and new runners.
As runner plants emerge, reposition them as necessary so that they stay within the rows. Keep the bed weeded and give the plants at least 1 inch of water per week during dry spells. Renew the mulch with the onset of freezing weather. SUMMARY The merits of growing your own strawberries can’t be overstated.
Because the plants are so small relative to other fruits, even the homeowner with no available gardening space can grow strawberries in a container. If you’re not sure what type of strawberry to grow, experiment. Grow several cultivars that produce fruit early, mid, and late season.
The time and effort put into getting strawberries off to the best possible start will reap sweet rewards. Good siting, good disease-resistant cultivar choices, proper plant density, and good maintenance are all key to keeping a strawberry bed healthy, productive, and enjoyable for years to come. Cover photo of strawberries in basket: By Pat Scrap from Pixabay SOURCES “Homegrown Berries,” A Timber Press Growing Guide (Timber Press, 2014) “The Strawberry Growing Master Manual,” strawberryplants.org website Growing Strawberries, Clemson Cooperative Extension Publication HGIC 1405 Growing Strawberries, Pennsylvania State Extension Article Growing Strawberries in the Home Garden, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet FS097,
Renovating Strawberries in the Home Garden, The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service Publication SP284-B, Small Fruit in the Home Garden, Virginia Cooperative Extension Publication 426-840, Strawberry, Plantvillage, https://plantvillage.psu.edu/topics/strawberry/infos
- 1 What strawberries grow best in Virginia?
- 2 How long does it take for green strawberries to turn red?
- 3 Where are strawberries grown in Virginia?
How do you grow strawberries in Virginia?
Skip to content Strawberries Ray Novitske 2021-02-14T13:47:34-04:00 By Janet Scheren, Fairfax Master Gardener Intern Albion Strawberry More than half a century later, my mouth still waters when I think of the plump, flavorful strawberries my grandfather grew in his garden. You could smell their intense flavor even before taking a bite! Of course, it didn’t hurt that my grandmother added them to freshly baked sponge cake and whipped cream for the ultimate strawberry shortcake.
But the really good strawberries have no trouble standing on their own — especially when they are fresh from your own garden! If fact, that may be the only reliable way to get luscious strawberries packed with maximum flavor, exceptional nutritional value and firm flesh. And the best part is they aren’t all that difficult to grow.
There are three true strawberry types (Fragaria x ananassa), plus the alpine strawberry (Fragaria vesca), which is a totally different species. Depending on your needs and the time of year you want your main harvest, you may decide to plant one or more of these varieties. Earliglow Strawberry June-bearing (short-day) strawberries are known to produce the largest strawberries with good yields. Flower buds form during the short days of autumn from late August to early November. Temperatures below 60 degrees promote bud formation.
- The buds go dormant during the winter months and then begin to bloom and produce fruit when the weather turns warm in late spring.
- Because these berries generate a lot of runners, they are typically grown in matted rows.
- Here plants are spaced 18 to 24 inches apart in rows spaced 3 to 4 feet.
- The plants will quickly fill in, often during the first season.
Be sure to mulch the bare ground to keep weeds from crowding out young plants. June-bearing plants should be fertilized again in late summer with an organic, water-soluble fertilizer. Popular June-bearing varieties with good disease resistance that are recommended by the Virginia Cooperative Extension include:
‘Camino Real’ is a compact plant with dark fruit and good disease resistance. ‘Camarosa’ has good disease resistance but is susceptible to verticillium wilt. Fruit is large, firm and holds well in the rain. ‘Delmarvel’ has large berries, good aroma and flavor. Plants are disease-resistant (except for Rhizoctonia, a type of root rot) with good winter hardiness. ‘Earliglow’ is a superior dessert quality berry, good for eating fresh, freezing and using in jams and jellies. The plants bloom early and, thus, are subject to frost injury.
Day-neutral strawberries are great for gardens with limited space. Their fruit is smaller than June-bearing varieties and crops are less abundant, but they are able to produce flowers and fruit throughout the growing season beginning as early as May. They are regarded as improved, more productive everbearing-type strawberries.
Day-neutral strawberries are not strongly influenced by day length, so they continue to bear fruit throughout the summer as days become longer. They typically have a second smaller crop mid-season depending on heat and resume fruiting in late summer until the first hard frost. Be sure to mulch them well with heavy straw or white plastic during hot summer weather.
Their roots are particularly sensitive to high soil temperatures. Everbearing strawberries produce an early crop in spring and a second smaller crop in the fall. On the positive side, they are easy to contain as they don’t produce as many runners as the other true strawberries.
‘Albion’ has a dark red hue and a sweet flavor. It’s good for fresh consumption as well as processing. ‘San Andreas’ pairs outstanding flavor and exceptional appearance. This variety is suitable for fresh market, processing and home gardens.
Two day-neutral varieties recommended by the University of Maryland Extension are:
‘Tristar’ is a sweet, medium-size fruit with good disease resistance. It’s most productive in the fall. ‘Tribute’ is a vigorous, disease-resistant plant with medium-size berries. Its flavor is somewhat acidic.
Day-neutral and everbearing strawberries are typically planted with the hilling or mounding system. This allows you to easily remove all runners, while providing the support for the larger crowns needed to concentrate energy and maximum fruit production and quality. Alpine Strawberries The fourth type of strawberry is the alpine strawberry. While they are tiny in size, they compensate with big flavor. Also known as fraises des bois or wood strawberries, they are especially considered a delicacy in France. They are not produced commercially because their fruit is fragile and has a short shelf life.
- While it’s unlikely you’ll find them in your local garden center, several mail order and seed companies carry a nice variety of plants and seeds with both red and white/yellow varieties.
- They are particularly winter hardy, producing flowers and fruit down to 20 degrees.
- I had these delightful berries growing in a pot on my deck this winter through the Christmas holidays.
These strawberries also grow well along garden paths and can tolerate some shade. A few of the most popular alpine strawberries include:
‘Alexandria’ is top rated for flavor, vigor and yield. ‘Mignonette’ fruits from seed the first summer and produces all season long. ‘Yellow Wonder’ berries are incredibly sweet, and their yellow skin and flesh make them less attractive to birds.
Except for the alpine variety, strawberry plants require 8 to 10 hours of sun. They perform best when placed in well-drained, fertile, slightly acidic soil enriched by compost. An easy way to achieve this is with a raised bed, which also keeps the soil drained and reduces the risk of fungal disease.
- Strawberries can also thrive in containers.
- Plant strawberries in rich soil with the roots spread out at a planting depth that sets the base of the bud at soil level.
- Virginia Cooperative Extension recommends applying 4 lbs.
- Of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 linear feet of row two to three weeks before planting.
If planting in the fall, fertilize again in spring. Because strawberries are shallow rooted, they are vulnerable to drought. Be sure they receive 1 inch of water a week, which is standard for most garden beds. They should be mulched up to 4 or 5 inches with straw or pine much during the winter to help maintain a consistent winter temperature and prevent premature budding in spring. Be patient with strawberries. Give them time to grow into well-established plants about the size of a salad plate by pinching off flowers and runners for the first season. Alpine strawberries, however, don’t produce runners but instead grow ever larger mounds topping out at about 10 to 12 inches wide.
- Once the plants are well established, strawberries are typically ready to harvest around 28 to 30 days after reaching full bloom.
- Do a taste test to ensure ripeness or pick berries when they are fully colored.
- You can prolong their shelf life by leaving the green caps on, keeping picked berries out of the sun and refrigerating them as soon as possible.
Don’t wash or trim them until right before you are ready to use them. Strawberries, like other members of the Rosaceae or rose family, are susceptible to a variety of bacteria, fungi, molds, viruses and a host of pests. Some basic strategies will help avoid problems with strawberries including:
Avoid planting strawberries where potatoes, tomatoes, peppers or black raspberries have grown. Pick a location that is well-drained. Good soil drainage prevents standing water and makes it difficult for fungus to remain in contact with strawberries long enough to infect them. Use a thick barrier of mulch to prevent the spread of disease and keep the berries from contacting fungus in the soil. Plant strawberries in full sun to minimize conditions favorable to fungal infection and ensure good air circulation to help leaves dry quickly after rain or watering. Planting parallel to prevailing wind helps here as well. Harvest fruit often and early in the day. Removing the strawberries as soon as plants dry in the day can reduce infection. Harvest fruit as soon as it is fully ripe to keep brown spots and leather rot from setting in as well as to deter a variety of pests that are attracted by over-ripe fruit. Additionally, avoid planting strawberries where grass has grown to avoid damage from grubs. Cover ripening fruit with bird netting to be sure you’ll have plenty to keep for yourself.
Resources • Strawberry Variety Trial 2016-17, Jayesh B. Samtani, Virginia Cooperative Extension Hampton Roads • Small Fruit in the Home Garden, Jayesh B. Samtani, Reza Rafie, Tony K. Wolf and Alson H. Smith, Jr., Virginia Cooperative Extension • Strawberries — Selection, Planting, Training, University of Maryland Extension • Homegrown Berries, 2014, Timber Press Growing Guide Page load link Go to Top
What strawberries grow best in Virginia?
In the classic children’s book by Don and Audrey Wood, The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear, the narrator tricks a small mouse into sharing one single strawberry, clearly demonstrating just how delicious a strawberry can be.
And after all, what morsel of fruit could impart more delight and more flavor than a delicious red and ripe strawberry? We can thank the ancient Romans for cultivating strawberries. While we may see the strawberry as a sweet harbinger for spring, the Romans saw the berry as a symbol of Venus, the goddess of love, and the French viewed les fraises as an aphrodisiac; it’s no wonder that these ruby gems of fruit are now the world’s most popular berries.
These days avid gardeners can choose from among more than 600 varieties of strawberries. From simple joy to super food The strawberry might not cause Cupid to shoot his bow, but it may do other kinds of wonders for your heart: strawberries supply a wealth of nutrition, of course if you want to supply real good nutrition to your body, you can also try with supplements like the field of greens powder that specialized in provide great nutrients as well.
Yes, within one little berry, you’ll find vitamins, soluble fiber, and high levels of certain antioxidants (polyphenols). In fact, a single serving of strawberries provides half of your daily vitamin C requirement. This tiny fruit holds a substantial amount of manganese, potassium and folate, too. Consuming more strawberries points to a wide range of health benefits, including improved heart health, lower blood sugar levels, and possibly reduced joint inflammation.
Of course, incorporating more nutritious fruits like Rotab Mazafatati Dates and vegetables tends to improve overall health, so you might as well go ahead and enjoy nature’s tastiest treats this season! LOCAL PICK-YOUR-OWN FARMS Central Virginia boasts a fair number of local strawberry farms, and like many other crops, Mother Nature decides the peak time for harvest.
- We often find local strawberries available in May, so be sure that the local berry patch is open for business if you’re planning a visit.
- Whether you’d like to spend a morning with your family, picking your own berries, or whether you’d simply like to enjoy the bounty of fresh fruit or support local farmers, here are a few places where you can buy berries fresh from the farm: Seamans’ Orchard Seamans’ planted their very first strawberry patch nearly 17 years ago, and they’ve grown strawberries at their Nelson County farm ever since.
Choose from pick-your-own strawberries or pre-picked (upon request—call to reserve).415 Dark Hollow Road • Roseland (434) 277-8130 Yoders’ Farm Head out to Rustburg to pick your own berries at Yoder’s Farm—they grow the well-loved glossy Chandler variety of strawberries! 134 Browns Mill Road • Rustburg (434) 401-4864 Scott’s Strawberry Farm Traditionally the site of Bedford County’s beloved Strawberry Festival, Scott’s offers pick-your-own berries or pre-picked berries.5234 Joppa Mill Rd • Moneta (540) 297-7917 Motley’s Strawberry Farm A beloved local strawberry farm located right off the intersection of 29 and Rt 40 in Gretna.240 Steele Rd • Gretna (434) 656-2838 CS Farms CS Farms is a local, family-owned business that has served the Central Virginia community for more than 20 years.2082 Oakleigh Ave • Appomattox (434) 352-5971 Planting strawberries The strawberry heralds a time of colorful and bountiful produce that we welcome after a steady winter of root vegetables and whatever remnants of last year’s harvest we remembered to can or freeze. It only makes the plant even sweeter to know that the strawberry plant supplies a lovely ground cover—this fruit makes for a beautiful border. If you’re planting strawberries for edible purposes, determine how you’ll use the berries. Are you an avid baker and love to make strawberry desserts? Do you hope to yield enough berries to make a few batches of your grandmother’s homemade jam recipe? Will you relish eating them out of hand? Next, determine if you have well-draining soil; this is necessary for strawberry-growing success for ground planting. Find a space in your garden that receives a healthy dose of both sunlight and be sure to mulch the plants so that they have something to rest on other than pure soil.
June-bearing plants, which peak from May–June Day-neutral plants, which supply berries regularly from early spring to late fall Everbearing plants, a misnomer since the plant yields berries in spring and in fall—not year-round
According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, the best strawberries to plant in Virginia include: Allstar, Delite, Delmarvel, Earliglow, Honeoye, Lateglow, Ozark Beauty, Redchief, Sunrise, Surecrop, Tribute and Tristar. It’s a worthwhile time investment to have a chat with your favorite local garden center or Master Gardener to discover which variety will serve your needs and your garden best.
You can begin your adventure with strawberry plants right away. Find the sunniest spot in your home—usually a south-facing room or a sunroom. Pot the plants in a traditional strawberry pot or in a hanging basket (strawberries have small root balls and don’t require a pot more than eight inches deep and ten inches wide).
Whichever container you choose, fill it with controlled-release fertilizer. Be sure to fan out the roots within the soil, and check to see that the crown of the plant is even with the surface. Over the next six weeks, water the plant every day and pinch off any blossoms that appear. Prior to planting in the ground, trim off any dead leaves and trim the roots to a few inches long (between 4 and 5 inches). Soak the shortened roots for an hour or two before bringing the plant into your outdoor garden.
Can you plant strawberries in Virginia?
Growing strawberries in Virginia can be a rewarding experience. With a little bit of knowledge and effort, you can have a bountiful harvest of sweet, juicy strawberries each year. The climate of Virginia is perfect for growing strawberries, so you can enjoy your own freshly picked berries all spring and summer long.
How long does it take for green strawberries to turn red?
Life Cycle of Strawberry Plants: Conclusion – Throughout their life, strawberry plants provide many times their own weight in harvested strawberries. They are one of the most productive plants when what is produced from the weight of the plant is considered.
- Strawberries begin to ripen four to five weeks after the first flowers open and continue to ripen for about three weeks.
- Have you considered growing strawberries yourself this year? If so, there are a host of suppliers from which you can find multiple strawberry varieties for sale.
- Simply see this directory: Strawberry Plants for Sale,
Understanding the growth cycle of strawberry plants can help you in your strawberry growing endeavors. Good luck!
Where are strawberries grown in Virginia?
Strawberries are planted in Virginia Beach in late September and harvested in May. An estimated 20% of the strawberries produced Virginia Beach are sold pre-picked at farmers markets. The remaining berries are harvested by U-Pick customers. The average consumption of strawberries has grown to 7.12 lbs.
What strawberries are best for winter?
The Annual Life Cycle of a Strawberry Plant – In the wild, strawberry plants are perennials. They set flower buds in the fall. Then the plant needs a long period of minimal activity to use photosynthesis in lower temperatures and less intense light to build up sugars in its stems and stolons to power a burst of fruiting the next year. If a strawberry never gets the cooler and darker weather it needs to recharge and rejuvenate, it will continue to try to flower and set fruit. But it will get weaker and weaker with fewer and fewer strawberries, while the crown and roots become more and more susceptible to disease.
Many strawberry growers are fine with pulling up strawberries at the end of the growing season and planting again the next spring. But it’s a lot of work to pull up old plants, sterilize the soil or containers the plants grew in, make sure that the dead strawberry plants aren’t harboring insects or disease, and then put out new plants the next year.
There is also the added cost of new plants. But some varieties of strawberry plants are so productive that it makes sense to keep them going through the winter. What are some good guidelines for choosing which strawberries to keep through the winter and which varieties to pull out and replant next year? If the strawberry is day-neutral, it isn’t sensitive to the length of day, at least with regard to trying to set more and more strawberries.
Day-neutral varieties like Albion, Jewel, Fort Laramie and Tristar may yield strawberries for months on end, but they only get weaker if you try to keep them through the winter for production next year. If the strawberry bears most of its fruit in the early summer, then it is a good candidate for overwintering.
These ” June bearing ” strawberries (depending on your climate, the peak bearing season may be as early as March or as late as July) only need winter care to rev up production all over again next year. Strawberry varieties of this type include Allstar, Chandler, Earliglow, Honeoye, and Surecrop,
Are strawberries native to Virginia?
Video 2: Wild Strawberry vs. Indian Strawberry – *There is another strawberry native to Virginia called the Woodland Strawberry ( Fragaria vesca ). Though it looks quite similar to F. virginiana, there are several characteristics that distinguish the two strawberries, including notable differences in the fruit structure.
Can you plant strawberries around fruit trees?
Other fruit trees – In addition to herbs, flowers, and vegetables, other fruit trees can also make good companions for strawberries. Apples, for example, can provide shade for strawberries and can also be grown in the same soil. Blueberries are another good option, as they have similar soil and watering requirements and can also provide shade for strawberries.