Growing your own berries is easier than many people think. It is an economical and healthier way to enjoy this delicious fruit that offers many health benefits. As a result of growing your own berries, you save money by not buying at the grocery store and you lessen the chance of illness because the berries will not have any pesticide residues. In addition, if you grow your own plants, you will have an abundant supply of berries for years to come as your garden blossoms every year. Even though you have a wide selection of berries to choose from – raspberries, blueberries, grapes, cranberries, and huckleberries – strawberries are the most rewarding of the plants because they produce a large quantity in a small area. The steps involved in growing these berries are easy however you must follow them carefully to obtain a garden that flourishes.

Choose the Best Plants

The three types of strawberry plants are June bearing, Everbearing, and Day Neutral. Each plant has its own separate characteristic and specific time for planting. For example, the June bearing plant produces in large quantities for approximately three weeks per year in the spring. The Everbearing plant produces throughout the fall, spring, and summer. The Day Neutral produces in small quantities throughout the growing season and will fit in gardens with limited spaces. Whichever plants you select, ensure they are certified disease-free.

Select a Time to Plant

The best time to plant strawberries is in the fall. When planting in the fall you allow the roots to grow strong in the cool months and then quickly develop in the spring. By starting the garden in the fall, you avoid the unnecessary process of disbudding the plants as flowers. However, if you choose, you can also begin the planting process in the spring or summer.

Choose a Garden Site

You should choose a site that has lots of sunlight to plant your berries and that is free of weeds, and has moisturized soil. The soil condition is very important when growing berries and it should have organic matter and be compost-enriched with pH balance levels of 5.8 to 6.2. The selected site should be slightly elevated with adequate drainage.

How to Plant

Dig a hole that is large enough for the roots to spread. Extend the roots in a downward direction and bury the plant halfway down the crown. Spread the plants at least 18 inches a part. When you begin to see the leaves and flower buds emerge, you should pinch them off to encourage plant production and growth. It is important give plants about 2 inches of water per week until the end of harvest to grow juicy berries.

You will enjoy a delightful berry garden if you follow these steps. The most important elements of growing delicious berries is choosing the right plant, fertilizing the soil, and selecting the right time of year to begin your garden.

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References:

Mother Earth News: Grow Berries In Your Backyard
About.com: Strawberries


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