It isn’t summer until we get our hands on some delicious strawberries, the perfect reminder of the hot season’s flavour. People simmer with the expectation, looking forward to taking a bite out of this fervent red fruit, anticipating its freshness. There’s nothing better than clamping your teeth on the freckled skin of a sweet strawberry. Strawberry plants are known for their fruits, however, their yellow centred flowers with white petals shouldn’t be treated as stepdaughters.
This year, there’s no excuse for not growing strawberries at home — maintaining them is simple and you’ll get great fruits to make amazing dishes on those hot summer nights. Besides, there’s a big difference between shop bought and homegrown strawberries. Just try not to be scared about their little size: intense flavour comes in smaller packages.
Health, flavour and fun
A list of the health benefits and delicious moments offered by strawberries could be deemed purposeless because we’re all familiar with their greatness. Still, it’s important to point out that strawberries are not just delicious, they are also a good source of vitamin C, fibre, and potassium. Moreover, strawberries help prevent cancer, improve eye health and keep a beautiful looking skin.
There are also three recipes I like preparing with homegrown strawberries. The first one is strawberry lemonade, which is a mandatory, easy to make combination for anyone looking to keep body temperature cool. During summer’s blazing heat, there’s nothing better than light meals, so I always make a delicious salad of strawberries, avocado, cheese and spinach, served with a honey, lemon juice and mustard dressing.
Finally, use the last strawberries of summer to make jam, which is probably an easier task than you think: wash and slice 500 grams of strawberries, add 400 grams of sugar and the juice of one lemon. Simmer the mix until it’s ready.
If these aren’t good enough reasons to pull up your sleeves and start growing strawberries, think about how the kids will enjoy doing it, while learning about plants. In the end, give them the fruits of their labour covered in cream. I promise they’ll be radiant.
The first steps
It’s important to choose the right kind of strawberries to plant. In spring, the most appropriate varieties are the remontants — they produce fruits between June and October — like Selva, Diamante, Aroma, Albion and Seascape. Non-remontant varieties, like Camarosa, Chandler, Kwesta, Carisma, Agoura, Ventana and Candonga should be planted near the end of summer and they only produce fruits once a year, between April and June. If you buy the strawberry plants in bunches, you’ll immediately get the visual result.
Maintaining the plants is also quite easy, however, first, choose the right place. If you take your time on the initial stage of the process, you’ll enjoy sweeter strawberries. Strawberry plants need light and little or no wind — they enjoy the sun, which is a decisive element on the sweetness of their fruits. The soil should be light, airy, have good water retention ability and drainage.
The only thing missing is the perfect container. Minigarden Vertical is the most appropriate pot for growing flavoursome fruits. If you want to get a bit more creative, combine Minigarden Vertical with Minigarden Corner to get the most out of your space, both visually and productively. With just one Minigarden Vertical, you can grow up to nine strawberry plants whereas the Kitchen Garden kit has space for twenty four plants. Just imagine how many milkshakes you’ll be enjoying this summer.
When planting, remove any dry leaves and ripe fruits, so they won’t rotten. Finally, during the first week, water the plants daily, at the end of the day: a great way to relax and ensure the success of your production. An alternative to the watering can is the Minigarden Irrigation system, which can be automatic or manual.
After setting up the strawberry plants’ permanent home, it’s easy to keep them healthy. Before summer, water the plants once a week and during heat waves, make sure they don’t get too thirsty. Bear in mind, the more you water the plants, the bigger the fruits get, however, the flavour will be less intense. Finding a watering balance is essential in getting the most tasty strawberries.
Just like people, plants need a rich and suitable nutrition. To make sure your strawberry plants don’t miss anything, use Minigarden nutritional supplements. In this case, we recommend Minigarden Grow Up Orange, which is perfect to improve the quality of fruits.
From time to time, check if there are any ripe strawberries because they should never be left to rotten on the plant. There are two sure ways of improving the flavour of strawberries: avoid watering the plants two days before picking the fruits and collect them during the hottest time of the day.
Strawberry plants will brighten your days and offer sweet fruits for five to six years, however, productivity will decrease after the first two years. For this reason, to make sure your strawberries keep tasting great, buy new plants.
Strawberries are undoubtedly the heroes of summertime – easy to plant, easy to maintain and simply tasteful.