The most exciting fruit in your garden has to be strawberries. They fruit earliest and give you the first true taste of summer. The Heeman name has been synonyms with strawberries for generations for growing high quality berries. We’ve put together a guide to growing your own strawberries at home.

growing strawberriesStrawberries can grow in nearly any soil type but prefer a well-drained loam soil with a pH above 6.0. If you are unsure of your soil type or pH, don’t worry, strawberries are resilient. It’s important they the ground you plant in has proper drainage and a good rotation. Don’t plant strawberries into ground you had strawberries in within the last 5-8 years as it can still have soil diseases that will infect your plants and cause poor performance. Each soil type will give a distinct flavour to the strawberry, like grapes in a wine, so you might find your garden produces a berry that taste different than it does from our fields.

How to Plant Your Strawberries

Strawberries can be planted between late April and the end of May, ideal the beginning of May. To have strawberries for as long as possible select multiple varieties, like an early and late season producer. Strawberries fruit for approximately two weeks so having more than one variety will extend your season and allow you enjoy them longer.

Soak the strawberry plants in water for five minutes before planting.  Plants are normally growing rows spaced 38” – 48” apart and planted with 12″ spacing. When planting your strawberry roots, stick your trowel in deep in the soil, pull it back to create a gap and stick the root in the gap. You should be burying all the roots but be careful not to cover the crown (heart) of your plant. If you are unable to plant as soon as you get your new plants home, store them in the refrigerator.

General Care & Overwintering

Strawberries are a thirsty plant and show be watered like any garden crop in after planting. We recommend you avoid applying any fertilizer in the first three weeks after planting to avoid burning emerging roots. After this time period a weekly application of a water soluble fertilizer, such as 20-20-20 is advised.

During the first year you plant your strawberries, it’s a good idea to remove fruit blossoms as they appear, to help encourage plant and runner growth. Blossoms will stunt the development of your plant and reduce the size and quantity of fruit in future years.  When runners form on your plant it’s a good idea to push them into the row so they can fill in the space between your ‘mother’ plants and create a thicker row of plants.

A mulch of straw or leaves can be placed upon rows of plants in October to prevent winter injury to the strawberry crowns. Remove straw from on top of the plants in spring prior to dormancy break around April 1st.

This is a guide to growing a June bearing strawberry. If you are interested in growing everbearing strawberries we recommend you read our guide to Growing Everbearing Strawberries. The growing system they require to grow ideal is to costly and labour intense to replicate at home. You may not find as much success with growing everbearing strawberries and we can’t guarantee that they will grow as quickly or as big as our’s at Heeman’s.