Home-grown strawberries: Fresh, tasty and people-friendly

Even though I can buy strawberries all year round from the supermarket, store-bought strawberries can’t compare to the first strawberries from my own garden.

Home-grown strawberries are fresher, more flavorful and guaranteed to be pesticide-free.

Fresh

They are really fresh strawberries because I just had to walk out into my backyard to pick them. And because of the short trip…a really low carbon footprint.

 

Flavourful

Flavourful…OK, not quite true in my case. I picked them a little early, so the strawberries were a little tart. Birds managed to gobble up the first couple of strawberries. I had no choice. Even with bird-deterrents in place, I don’t know if I will ever be able to wait until the strawberries are fully ripe!

What contributes to flavour? Variety of strawberry, good growing conditions and when the strawberries are eaten after being picked (i.e. freshness).

I’m growing premium quality President’s Choice strawberry plants. Even though the tag didn’t have mention the variety, I suspect it’s ‘Milan,’ an everbearing strawberry ( also called day neutral). Everbearing/day neutral strawberries bear fruit throughout the summer months, usually with more fruit in June and September. And an everbearing strawberry plant tends not to produce too many runners. Runners (i.e. stolons) are a characteristic of June-bearing strawberry varieties …but I digress.

I also have just the right growing conditions! Good well-draining soil and more than 6 hours of direct sunshine. And yes, I keep the soil evenly moist. Water stress would affect the flavour…

Most growers would say the everbearing strawberry, ‘Tristar,’ has the best flavour.

Pesticide-free

And lastly, my strawberries are pesticide free. Store bought/ farmer grown strawberries may have been sprayed with all kinds of pesticides. Strawberries are prone to numerous diseases and attract a variety of insects.

Keeping them disease- and pest-free is all about giving the strawberries the right growing conditions. Stressed plants are more susceptible to diseases as well as being more attractive to insects. Plants aren’t too different from people!

 

Bottom line?

Strawberries, cultivated since the ancient Roman times, continue to delight palates. A Google of strawberry comes up with 171 million hits. That’s borderline obsessive. And why not? Strawberries are the perfect dessert to indulge in: no fat, no cholesterol and low in calories (45 calories per cup).

 


Written by Cristina da Silva
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 in Plants & Soils

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