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Connecticut Garden Journal: Strawberry varieties for every garden

Farmer Lauren Little (left) offers a strawberry to five-year-old A’Shia Barron who came with her father and brother to one of Little’s Saturday morning farming-education program at Hartford’s Free Space.
Mark Mirko
/
Connecticut Public
Farmer Lauren Little (left) offers a strawberry to five-year-old A’Shia Barron who came with her father and brother to one of Little’s Saturday morning farming-education program at Hartford’s Free Space.

It's strawberry season. Taking the kids or grandkids to a pick-your-own strawberry farm is great, but what's even more fun is growing strawberries yourself. Strawberries are one of the easiest fruits to grow and there are types for every garden.

The June bearing strawberry varieties, such as 'Jewel' and 'Sparkle', produce an abundance of fruits now, then are finished for the season. They're great for freezing and making jams. They produce an abundance of runners and can also be used as a ground cover. Day neutral strawberry varieties produce strawberries in smaller batches all summer. These varieties, such as 'Evie2' and 'Seascape', are bushy plants that don't send out many runners. They're great in smaller space gardens and containers. Alpine or wild strawberries come in small sized, red, white and yellow colored fruiting varieties. These bunching plants stay small, don't run and produce fruit all summer. They're great container and ground cover plants.

All strawberries love full sun, but alpine strawberries also grow nicely in part shade under a tree or around low growing flowers. Plant strawberries now for next year's harvest. Pinch off flowers of June bearing varieties the first year to let the plant get established. Pinch off flowers of day neutral and alpine types until July 1, then let some flowers set for a late harvest.

Protect strawberries from birds with netting and harvest once the berries are full colored for best flavor. June bearing types have runners that create a mat of plants. For best production next year, thin rows, in late summer, to 1 foot diameter and space plants 1 foot apart.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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