November: Great time for strawberries

Did you know that the strawberry – one of the most sought after and delicious foods in the world – can be successfully grown in our area? And lucky for us, they’re easy to grow.

There are two types available to grow in our garden plots: the junebearer and the everbearer.

Junebearer strawberries are usually set out (planted) in the fall and winter, and produce fruit throughout the spring. So now is a good time to plant this variety. They start producing in February and if the spring is cool, they will continue to ripen strawberries through June.

As the days begin to get long, these junebearing strawberries will send out runners (stolons) that will produce new plants. These will begin to flower when the days get short again.

Everbearing strawberries bloom more in the summer when the days are long. Our summers are usually a little too hot for great success with this type of berry.

Here is the most important tip I can pass on to fellow central Texas gardeners: strawberries must have well drained soil. A good garden mixture would include about 50% sand mixed with rich compost and topsoil.

Strawberries also can flourish in raised beds when the drainage is poor. Also you can grow your berries in containers such as hanging baskets and strawberry pots.

When growing strawberries in pots, use a good soil-less potting mix such as Metro, Sunshine or Miracle –Gro. These will provide nutrients and drainage, so you won’t have to mix amendments into the soil.

The second most important tip I can suggest is mulching. If you mulch around the plants, you will keep those roots warm in the winter and cooler in the summer.

An added benefit to growing strawberries in containers is when the temperatures begin to rise in the summer you can move the pots to a shadier and cooler location. Some varieties to look for are Chandler, Sequoia, and Douglas.

Happy gardening everyone! 

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