Who doesn't love a good strawberry? Who buys strawberries at the grocery store only to have them go bad 20 minutes later because they were picked a week earlier. Strawberries grown organically do not last long. As in, pick them and eat them, or pick them and freeze them.
Strawberries are very prolific, meaning, they reproduce fairly rapidly. What you see above only took up 6 squares out of the 9 last year. The square foot box has filled in nicely. I have it under a greenhouse tent, because we have an abundance of birds in the neighborhood that love strawberries as much as I do. Putting a netting over them would probably work just as well.
The strawberries that I planted are everbearing. I planted them last year in April, and got a semi-decent crop considering they were first year plants. This year I got way more, and my first crop was in late May/Early June. My second crop is coming in now and I am getting even more than I did earlier in the summer. I pick them, wash them, freeze them on a cookie sheet, and store them in a ziplock bag. And yes, I sneak a few here and there as a snack while doing all of this. I am freezing as many as possible for smoothies. At this rate I am picking almost 2 lbs of strawberries every few days. I figure if I can do that for a couple of weeks, I will end up with 8-10 lbs of strawberries just from this square.
I have another 3X3 square right next to it and the strawberry plants are migrating over and taking over the other box. I am thinking of just letting it happen, and maybe planting a few more strawberries in the Spring. It would be nice to end up with two crops each year harvesting 30-40 lbs of strawberries total. That wouldn't be a bad haul for smoothies through the winter!
Growing Season -Typically Spring and Fall in cooler weather
Seed to Harvest - Seed-started plants take up to 3 years to bear fruit. Use starts from your local nursery.
Indoor Seed Starting - No
Earliest Outdoor Planting - 4 weeks before last Spring frost
Harvest - Pick the fruit leaving a short piece of stem attached; use scissors for a clean cut. Harvest as fruit ripens.
Recommendations - Plant an entire square of strawberries. I like the 3x3 square because when the strawberries come in, they come in fast and there are a lot to pick!
Problems - Birds and slugs. People who put too many in their mouth and too few in their basket.