Strawberries are among the favorite fruits due to their juicy and delicious flavor. It would be a great idea to have your own strawberry field. When the harvest time comes around, picking them is very fun, I tell you. The question now is how to ripen strawberries or when’s the best time to harvest them?
Strawberries have three main varieties. The first one is called Day-Neutral as it is not sensitive to day length. It tolerates a temperature range from 35 to 85. It produces flowers, fruits and runners several times. The second one is Everbearer that produces buds during summer and some days in fall or autumn. The last variety is Junebearer, which is very sensitive to day length and produces flowers and fruits during spring.
Depending on the type, you may be picking strawberries in either spring or early autumn. While waiting, it’s important to monitor their buds and runners. Caring for the plant is basically how to ripen strawberries.
How to Care for Strawberries
1. Water Regularly
Keep your strawberry plants moist all the time. They have shallow roots and can dry easily. Adequate amount of water, an inch, a week is needed but double that when the flowers and runners start developing.
2. Keep The Beds Mulched
During early spring or after frost, remove mulch. But the rest of the season the strawberry beds must be mulched. This helps reduce the needs of more water as well as eliminate weeds. You also check the kind of mulches you’re using, which means it must be appropriate to the kind of plant you have.
3. Mow And Get Rid Of Weeds
How to ripen strawberries and harvest them at a greater volume is when the surroundings are mowed. It also helps if you remove any type of weeds. Cut foliage and other unnecessary plants that may grow around the beds.
4. Remove First Year Blossoms
During the first year, experts suggest to get rid of the flowers to avoid producing fruits. This may sound crazy but disallowing the production of fruits can actually help develop healthier roots. As a result, this produces a much better of fruits in the second year.
5. Eliminate Baby Or Daughter Plants
Remove all baby plants and replant them. This helps produce more fruits during harvest. Make sure that you keep them apart by spacing 10 inches in between.
6. Use Row Covers
Strawberry beds can be protected from animals and insects with row covers. There’s a higher chance of preventing different diseases cause by pests, such as Japanese beetles, slugs and spider mites, as well as powdery mildew and gray mold.
7. Renovate the Bed
It is also beneficial to renovate one of your strawberry beds. But this is usually done after harvest. A new fresh bed produces greater buds and healthier fruits.
When to Harvest and How to Ripen Strawberries
Regardless of the variant, strawberry starts producing fruits after 3 or 4 weeks. Hence, it’s vital to monitor the weeks from the time you created the beds.
On the second year, the waiting period is even shorter. It only takes a month before the full bloom of the fruits. You can pick every 2 to 3 days, especially if they are bright red in color. Being aware of the days passed by is somehow significant regarding how to ripen strawberries and harvest them.
When you harvest be sure to cut by the stem instead of pulling the fruits. You must do it in the morning as the berries are cool, which means fresher and tastier.
After harvesting you can store strawberries in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. In fact, you can keep them frozen for a month or two. But the fresher the harvest is the better the taste.
When storing, pack strawberries properly. Do not overload a container without some space. This can easily spoil the fruits. Remember that this kind of berry is fragile and easy to juice out.
It is very easy to grow strawberries. It depends on how to ripen strawberries that make the harvest a successful one. That’s why you implement the basic gardening care and maintenance, which includes the regular monitoring. You need to remove any thing that can potentially damage your strawberry beds.