Garden Word of the Day
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Sunny days and cool nights make the best strawberries.
Like many other edible plants, strawberries grown and harvested at home tend to have much better flavor than store-bought varieties. While strawberries are grown commercially as annuals, they are actually a perennial plant.
Technically, they are not berries at all! Strawberries are actually aggregate fruits, along with raspberries and blackberries. And those tiny seeds are a special variety of seed known as an achene, which is actually a dried fruit!
How to grow strawberries
Strawberries make excellent container plants. They grow very well in towers, raised beds, narrow planter boxes, and even rain gutters can be used. Ideally, containers should be 6 - 8” deep and at least 18” long. Potting soil mixed with aged compost or organic fertilizer should be used to provide plenty of nutrients. Use these steps to successfully grow strawberries in the ground:
Strawberries are classified as either “day-neutral” or “short-day” varieties. Day-neutral strawberries, also known as “everbearing", flower and produce fruit year round, peaking April through October. Aptos and Fern are popular everbearing strawberry plants. Short-day varieties, such as Pajaro, Seascape, Tioga and Chandler, produce more as days become shorter, in fall, through early spring.
Strawberry pests & diseases
Slugs and snails, earwigs and sowbugs will eat fruit that is lying on the ground, which is why a barrier of straw is used to cover strawberry beds. Keeping fruit off of the ground will also reduce berry rot. Powdery mildew, Botrytis fruit rot (gray mold), Verticillium wilt, and leaf spot diseases are common on strawberries.
Strawberries occasionally undergo a process called vivipary, in which each tiny seed sprouts a leaf.
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