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Picking strawberries fresh from your garden, is one of the great pleasures in life. Seeing a young child pick and eat a strawberry, is a great site to see.

There are two types of Strawberries--One's that bear fruit within a few weeks period, in early summer, and ones that bear fruit from spring until the fall or up to when it freezes. The latter is called ever-bearing.

With ever-bearing strawberries you can pick a few strawberries everyday the whole growing season. If you want to do some serious canning, then the strawberries that just produce one time in early summer are the ones you want to try.(larger crop--ready at one time)

How to Plant Them

You can buy strawberry plants in the early spring. Some will come already planted in a 4in container or a 4 or 6 pack container.The best way to buy them are in the bare root form.They might come in a bundle of 25, but if you want less then that, most nurseries will break them up for you.If you want some serious strawberries, then you need at least 25. When planting them, give them plenty of room. They will send out runner's which you can separate about every two years. Plant them about a foot a part. Add a little fertilizer to the hole when you plant them. Add some organic matter also and mix well then water the plants in real well. As far as fertilizer goes, you can use a garden-vegi type. Your Nitrogen number should be under 10--the numbers on the bag should read like-6-4-4 or 8-8-8 or 8-6-4--something like that.

You may say no kidding, but don't use lawn fertilizer on your vegi's--unless it's a starting fertilizer, then it's the same thing. Fertilizer gets confusing, so sometimes it is best to stick to the basics--if it says vegi on the label--use it for vegi's--DUH--if it says lawn fertilizer on the label, use it for your lawn. It is very simple, but you might be surprised what some people will use on some plants. Liquid fertilizer can be used, but I don't like to put that directly on the fruit. Plus you need to use it every two weeks. With the granular, you can get by with doing it about every 6 weeks.

Taking care of Them

Don't expect a lot of strawberries the first year. By the third year, you should be hauling in the berries. If you live in a area that gets heavy snow and frost, mulch them in before winter hits. To keep birds off of the berries, try putting some netting over them.

This is another stupid thing, but I have seen this-If you have bird feeders or bird baths close by, yes- you will have bird problems. If you need to use an insecticide, use Sevin--it's the safest. Strawberries take care of themselves pretty well once they get going.---ENJOY