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Strawberries are easy to grow, whether you have a garden or a small sunny balcony, because their shallow roots make them ideal container plants. The key to growing tasty strawberries is selecting disease-resistant varieties that fit your locale. When strawberries are not bearing, they are an attractive ground cover. This article tells you how to select, plant, maintain and harvest strawberries.
Strawberries at a glance
Strawberries are a winter-hardy perennial plant. They need full sun and well-drained soil mixed generously with compost.
Strawberries are available in two types. The June-bearers, the more common type, usually ripen in early to midsummer and bear fruit for about two and a half weeks. June-bearers are planted only in spring. Because all first-year blossoms must be removed to give the plants energy to get established, there is no harvest from June-bearing strawberries in the first year.
Everbearing strawberries produce from early summer to autumn. Everbearing strawberries can be planted in the autumn or spring. Generally, everbearing strawberries are smaller and not as productive as June-bearing.
There are thousands of varieties of strawberries, many developed for specific locales. Buy your plants as close to home as possible and find out from neighbours and other gardeners in you area which strawberries they are growing. As strawberries are prone to a variety of diseases, select only varieties that are certified as disease-resistant.
Strawberries are prolific growers. Especially June-bearing strawberries quickly form a thick mat of offshoots called runners. If not cut back regularly, the rapid growth of strawberries can deplete neighbouring plants of space and nutrients.