One of the first plants I planted or should I say transplanted in my garden when I moved in this home was strawberries. Fresh picked strawberries with my breakfast every summer morning was a thrill. This summer I was up to three kinds of wonderful strawberry plants that flower at different times, so collecting seed was easy. These strawberries grew well in my raised bed and in containers.
I picked 2-3 whole tufts of wild strawberries at a friend’s place and planted them by my fence. I prepared dug a hole in the gravel and filed it with the same soil from my raised bed. No special care was ever given to these strawberry plants aside from watering and an occasional heap of compost and mulch.
The patch doubles every year. We now have wild strawberries all along the fence. The funny thing is, there is now wild strawberries in all of my neighbour’s yards! They produce one harvest in late June. These wood strawberries are much smaller than commercial varieties. It takes a long time to collect but tastes so much better.
Alpine strawberries are unique because they are day neutral. They flower and set strawberries whenever the temperature is between 35 and 85 degrees. This fall has been particularly mild and my strawberries where producing until the first few days of November.
My alpine strawberries produced a good deal of strawberries the first year they where planted. I started the plants from seed early, indoors. Fragaria vesca, this Italian everbearing, heirloom strawberry produces aromatic, delightful, miniature berries the size of the tip of your little finger.
First I have to say, everbearing strawberries are not really everbearing. They can produce 3 harvests of strawberries. One in the spring, summer and fall. In my zone 4b it is more like two harvests. One in June and another in August.
The berries where big, deep red and sweet. They lasted longer in the fridge than the smaller varieties. They where perfect for freezing and using in jams and pies. I had many strawberries to eat daily and to preserve.
My all time favourite strawberries to grow are Alpine Strawberries. The fruit is sweet and delicious. The plants are prolific and bear fruit the first year. The growing season can be extended by bringing the plants inside. A bright window sill is enough to keep the plants producing. I have one under my jump start light and it is still producing. I wonder if it can live this way or if all strawberry plants need a cold period to rest.
Strawberries are as good fresh, dried or frozen. They are easy to freeze and preserve and they are loaded with vitamin C.