Strawberries, among the absolute most commonly grown fruit in house gardens, all start their lives as fragile white blooms on plants. Proper growing states will encourage more blossoms and thus more fruit, but improper maintenance can significantly impact the following spring’s harvest. Whether your flowering strawberry crops are June-bearing or everbearing, providing the ideal combination of soil, water and sun will maintain top quality of the flowers and fruit.
June-bearing strawberry crops initiate blossoms when days are short, and they produce a crop of fruit through a 2- to three-week period in the spring. Everbearing strawberries have three phases of flowers and fruit through spring, summer and fall, while day-neutral strawberries blossom and produce fruit throughout the growing season. There is a huge variety of cultivars in every kind of berry plant, but many gardeners choose to plant each of three to extend the growing season.
Flowers, or inflorescences, develop from terminal buds on the crown of the strawberry plant and also typically have five sepals and five white petals. Branch crowns, or smaller crowns that branch off from the primary crown, can have one or even two extra flower clusters on each. Poor light, low temperatures and too little water negatively affect the size and health of blossoms and later, the berries. With June-bearing strawberry crops, removing flowers as soon as they look the initial year will encourage runner and root development and a bigger crop the following year. With day-neutral and everbearing plants, remove blossoms through June and abandon the rest thereafter to place fruit for summer and fall harvesting.
The three procedures for planting flowering strawberries include the matted-row system with plants spaced 18 to 24 inches apart in rows 3 to 4 feet apart, appropriate for June-bearing cultivars; the ribbon-row system, that limits the number of daughter plants and is more labor intensive, but yields more blooms, berry yields and fewer diseases; and the mountain system, where plants have been put around 1 foot apart in multiple rows and all runners are removed, that is acceptable for day-neutral and everbearing cultivars. Berry plants also grow well in containers.
Plant flowering strawberries as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. The very best place for plants is a sunny place in well-drained, sandy, loam soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0. Approximately six weeks after planting and before flowering, apply 2 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer for each 100 linear feet of rows, and also utilize another 2 pounds in early September. This will foster the growth and development of blossom and fruit buds. Note that fertilizer needs will vary by region; your county extension office will know the specific kind required for your area. All strawberry plants require about 1 inch of water each week, either by irrigation or rain, to encourage flower growth.
The time from blossom bloom to harvest will be different from 18 to 45 days depending on the form of strawberry plant, sunlight and temperatures. Pick berries, together with the caps on and 1/2 inch of stem attached, in the morning when it’s cool and plants are dry to assist prolong berry shelf life. Harvesting vegetables each other day can help boost high-quality. Store harvested berries in temperatures around 33 to 34 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pests and Disorders
Two of the most frequent diseases in flowering strawberry crops are verticillium wilt and botrytis fruit rot, which influences blossom petals, flower stalks, fruit caps and fruit. Insects such as the strawberry bud weevil, which partially severs stems, can also lead to the loss of blossoms. An all-purpose fruit spray may be implemented just as the first blossoms open and at full bloom. Additionally, avoid putting berries in soil where other strawberries, brambles or crops in the tomato family — including potatoes, peppers and eggplants — happen to be developed to prevent verticillium wilt contamination. Eliminate overripe and rotted berries to decrease insect and disease problems.