Growing Strawberries: 4 Types of Plants to Consider
Growing strawberries is an ideal crop for children, families, or container gardens. Not only are strawberries prolific and tasty, but they are extremely low maintenance and often expensive in the stores. There are numerous species of strawberry which differ in sweetness, size, and texture; however, there are only about four different types growth patterns for berries. By deciding the ways gardeners intend to use the berries, they can easily differentiate which type of berry is best for the individual use.
1. Everbearing -- Everbearing strawberries are just as the name suggests—ever bearing. These plants will produce a few strawberries over a long period of time. Usually one set of fruit will appear in the spring, one in summer, and one in fall. Everbearing species don't send out many runners and have smaller berries generally. Species that are everbearing are great selections for children or families who are looking for berries to munch on throughout the year, and the excitement which comes from growing a tasty snack. They need to be replaced every 3 years or so to keep yields high.
2. June-bearing -- The beginning of most strawberry seasons is June 1st or pretty soon thereafter. June-bearing berries have large growths of fruit one time at the beginning of the season. Occasionally, in established plants, a second, smaller batch of berries will occur shortly after the first growth is picked, but mainly the single bearing is all that comes. June bearing species are ideal for jam makers or people who wish to freeze batches of berries for later use. By having only one major bearing, the batches are large enough to process effectively. June-bearing berries produce lots of runners and easily spread to fill large patches.
3. Day Neutral -- Day Neutral berries are often confused with Everbearing strawberries, as they produce throughout the growing season. The difference between the two is that Day Neutral varieties do not produce in batches, but intermittent berries here and there. Day Neutral berries are ideal for people with a small space or container planting, as they do not send out many runners and can easily be contained.
4. Local Species -- Local Species are varieties of berries which are often the best tasting berry due to their ability to climatize and evolve to the individual circumstances of the environment. Unlike grocery store berries, which are mainly grown in California and cultivated due to their large size, perfect appearance, and ability to transport, often local varieties are grown for taste and specific to the region. Sugar levels and textures often play large parts in canning, direct eating, freezing, or jam making, and local varieties often speak best to one specific type of use. Contact the local University Agricultural Extension office to find out about specific local varieties for your area and their best uses. Visiting local U-Pick farms can often give you the chance to taste multiple different local varieties before deciding on which to grow.