Today is National Strawberry Day!

With even the earliest strawberry harvests more than 2 months away, late February might seem an odd time to be celebrating these luscious edibles; but it’s an excellent time to plant them.

Strawberries are among the easiest berries to grow at home, and take much less effort and space than other fruits to have a decent yield.  Under ideal conditions, yields can be 1 to 2 pounds of fruit per plant, and plants are started about a foot to a foot-and-a-half apart – or can be planted somewhat closer in pots or planters.  Plantings are usually productive for about 4 years.

Day-neutral varieties are preferred by many home gardeners.  They ignore day length, and will produce a nearly continuous yield of tasty treats throughout the warm season, from as early as May to as late as October.  On the other hand, if you are looking for a concentrated harvest for jam making or freezing, June-crop varieties yield as much or more total weight of berries, concentrated into a 5-6 week cycle from June through early July – but will not produce the first year.

It is the peak of strawberry planting season now – bare root plants offer wide selection and the best prices of the year.  Celebrate National Strawberry Day by planting some in your garden or on your patio to enjoy this summer, and for summers to come.