Strawberries are a fine addition to any gardeners’ patch. More often than not, hobbyists who take pride in their garden will have some sort of fruits or vegetables growing. Because let’s be honest, it’s a pretty awesome feeling seeing their progress knowing you’ve grown them yourself. It really is a satisfying feeling from start to finish growing and maintaining your own fruits or vegetables. In this handy dandy guide, however, we’re going to be covering a much-loved fruit. Strawberries. Because who doesn’t love strawberries?
How Do Strawberries Grow?
So let’s start with the basics. How do strawberries actually grow?
Traditionally strawberries are grown in rows. They are normally planted directly into garden soil and take around 3 months to grow, given that they are grown in ideal conditions and are well maintained during the growing process. And believe it or not, you can actually purchase strawberries pots or packed seeds that are ready to be planted as soon as you buy them. You just need to know-how, and more importantly, when you should be planting them.
If you want to grow strawberries the more traditional way, in that you grow them from seeds, it’s worth noting that strawberries plants are self-pollinators, which means they don’t need other plants to fertilize and pollinate the flowers to make the fruit.
What is the Best Month to Grow Strawberries?
To get the best results from your strawberries, you ideally want to be planting them in early June and expect to be picking them by August. In most climates, June through to September is peak summertime and strawberries thrive in the summer sun with occasional showers for optimum mineral and nutritional absorption.
However, the same doesn’t apply to every zone.
Calgary, being zone 4, means the ideal time for planting your strawberries should be a little earlier. To break it down in simpler terms, agricultural zones determine an area’s distance to the equator. The lower the number, the further from the equator. The further from the equator, the cooler the climate.
To grow the perfect strawberry while living in zones 3 and 4, you should be looking to get planting in May; the earlier the better. However, don’t think you’ve missed your chance if it’s very early June. Experienced strawberry growers will tell you you can plant in early June, and if you’re blessed with a warm summer you should be absolutely fine.
What Zone Do Strawberries Grow In?
Strawberries can be grown in many zones. There isn’t anyone and only agricultural zone that strawberries can grow in. There are, however, some zones more suited than others. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t grow the same tasty fruit. Experts claim the perfect agricultural zone for growing strawberries in zone 8. Pretty close to the equator, which, as we’ve already mentioned, strawberries thrive in the summer sun. Anyone looking to grow strawberries in the desirable zone 8 would have a much wider window of planting opportunity in that they can begin planting from December through to the middle of March and still have strong and healthy fruit prosper. In Calgary however, aim for early to mid-May and you should be fine.
How Do Strawberries Grow in Calgary?
Deciding on how to grow your strawberries really is a case of preference and opinion. There are a few different methods in which you can choose to grow your strawberries in Calgary. You can grow them from pots that can be purchased from most gardening and DIY stores, or you can grow them from seeds. Grown from seed form can be done either in pots, containers, hanging baskets, and even straw bales. For those looking to get started but may have restricted space, then container growing would be the ideal preference. However, if you have greater resources and are looking for the highest yield from your plants, any expert will tell you that growing from the ground in higher quality soil is the best choice.
What Other Fruits Can You Grow in Calgary?
Calgary is not only limited to strawberries. In fact, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is quite the hotspot for a range of fruits and vegetables. Plums, pears, apples, and other berries can be grown quite easily in the Calgary climate. A very popular fruit, still sometimes mistaken for a vegetable, is the tomato. Tomatoes, like strawberries, can be grown in many different zones as they adapt and grow well in various climates. Tomatoes tend to be planted and grown indoors typically in a glass greenhouse and to begin planting you should be aiming to get started around April to May time. Another popular fruit is the golden spice pear which grows strong in the Calgary climate; also, they tend to produce flavourful fruit although the plants may not yield quite the same amount as the same region’s apple trees. Plums are another tasty and popular fruit amongst the gardeners of Calgary. Plum trees regularly grow to around 8 to 10 feet tall and can be planted anywhere from spring through summer to fall. Generally speaking, you can be flexible in planting plum trees anywhere from April to the end of October.
Is Growing Strawberries in Calgary Easy?
Growing strawberries in Calgary is like growing strawberries anywhere else in the world. You have to take into consideration your climate and agricultural zone whenever you begin planting. Whether it be strawberries, tomatoes, apples, or potatoes, even if you’re starting in the perfect zone, neglect and carelessness could result in poor yield and even, like in some cases, the plants not surviving the summer.
If you follow the guidelines somewhat precisely in that the seeds are planted at the ideal time, with a little bit of luck, it should be plain sailing. It used to be difficult to grow a healthy plant with a strong yield once upon a time as there were very few varieties of strawberries to work with. However, in recent years, a few varieties more resilient and ideal for Calgary have been introduced. Newer strains like Kent allow for large strawberries to be grown with exceptional yield and can produce fruit until as late as October.
A more experienced grower would recommend to the novice the Kent strain as it is more robust and much easier to work with. This guide may also provide more help about growing strawberries in Alberta.
As Calgary landscape designer, while being contracted for landscaping, I have advised many homeowners about planting, gardening, acreage landscaping, and making the most of their backyard by providing various gardening and landscaping tips.
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