Strawberries are sturdy fruits, able to be planted in autumn and withstand winter's chill when well mulched. The perks of autumn planting are plenty, and the process is simple with proper preparation and care.
Basking in the Benefits of Autumn Planting
Despite the common practice of planting in spring, autumn brings numerous benefits to your strawberry garden. As the soil remains warm during this season, the strawberry plants root better and grow more rapidly due to the still strong sunlight. In autumn, the selection of strawberry varieties is vast, and the plants require less attention compared to other seasons. Additionally, the harvest tends to be more plentiful and the plants themselves appear healthier and more vigorous. Lastly, with the reduced gardening tasks in autumn, more attention can be dedicated to your strawberries.
Knowing When and What to Plant
Strawberries are not threatened by cold or frost, making them ideal autumn plants. The prime window for planting strawberries is generally from mid-August to mid-October, with the peak slot falling between the 10th and 15th of October. However, some seasoned gardeners suggest that planting can be extended until late November. To ensure superior quality, opt for plants purchased from a nursery and consider strawberry varieties that bear fruit multiple times per season or only once a year.
Preparing Your Strawberry Bed
Before planting, prepare the soil using light, well-aerated, nutrient-rich soil without excess water. Enhance the soil with compost or well-decomposed manure and ensure the planting site is in close proximity to a water source. If it has rained recently, allow the soil to dry adequately.
Planting Strawberries in Autumn
Two days prior to planting, water the soil thoroughly. On planting day, moisten the plant nests, creating pits around 10-15 cm deep and spaced 30-40 cm apart. Place each plant in the pit in such a way that the roots settle freely, not too deeply or too high. The bottom leaves should be at the soil level. Cover the plant roots lightly with soil, press the soil gently after planting, and then mulch the strawberries.
Once properly planted, strawberries require minimal care over winter. Mulching not only protects the strawberries from weeds and pests but snow can also provide a warm, moisture-rich cover. If the winter becomes extremely cold, consider adding a layer of peat to absorb the extra water.
Following these guidelines could mean that your first harvest can be expected as early as the following spring.