What to Know If You’re Planning on Growing Strawberries

153166621Strawberries are a favorite fruit for many. They are relatively easy to grow, and most strawberry plants produce an abundance of fruit each year.

The Life Cycle of a Strawberry Plant

Strawberries start growing between February and June, depending on the region. A lot of strawberries produce runners that have baby plants at the tips. The runners root themselves nearby and stay attached to the central plant. Strawberries then usually take a break from producing during the second half of the summer. Keep your parent plant weeded and lightly watered, and it will grow again in the fall. In September, the plants develop latent buds that grow into flowers the next spring.

How to Care for Your Strawberry Plant

Your strawberry plant should have at least eight hours of direct sun every day. If your area has naturally alkaline soil, grow your strawberries in half-barrels or in another type of large container filled with potting soil. You can also sulk your strawberries in heavy clay.

Space your strawberries 18 inches apart, since they eagerly produce offspring. Some strawberries, like Loran, don’t produce many runners, if any at all, and they can be spaced 6 inches apart instead. Make sure the roots are well covered by soil, and that the central growing bud, otherwise called the crown, is exposed to fresh air and light. Water your strawberries well, and use mulch to keep the plants clean and the soil moist. Your plants will most likely start blooming in early spring, and once bees and other pollinating insects visit the flowers, they will start to set fruit. If you live in a warm, sunny climate, your berries will ripen about 30 days after the blossoms are fertilized.

Troubleshooting

Certain pests, diseases and climate conditions can keep your strawberry plant from thriving.

  • Slugs—If you notice slugs as your fruit ripens, use plastic mulch instead of straw mulch.
  • Fungal diseases—In the summer, you may notice dark spots on your leaves, which is an indication of a fungal disease. Clip or mow your strawberry foliage and rake it away in the summer. This disrupts the life cycle of some strawberry diseases, as well as pests.
  • Birds—Keep robins, brown thrashers, and other pests from stealing your berries by covering the plants with a lightweight bird netting as the berries begin to ripen.
  • Heat and drought—If you have a particularly dry year, the fruit should return to normal size once the weather improves. Also make sure to water your plant well.

Harvesting and Storing

Pick your strawberries in the morning, when the fruit is still cool, and put it in the refrigerator right away. Rinse the berries right before you cook or eat them. If you have extra strawberries, you can freeze them, dry them or make them into jam or preserves.

Please LIKE and FOLLOW for future posts and blogs on Gardening.

 

 

Advertisements

Growing Your Own Garlic Can Be Easy

177841415

Garlic is a lovely addition to food as it smells and tastes great as a spice. Did you know you could keep a fresh supply of garlic in your kitchen without necessarily refrigerating them? Here are some easy tips on how to grow garlic at home and save on some grocery expenses.

The Planting Phase

110847809Garlic will grow in a small backyard garden or even tiny pots lined on your kitchen window. Garlic cloves are planted into the soil to a depth of 2 inches and 4 inches from each other. The spice clove thrives better in soil temperatures of around 50 degrees, as this curbs premature growth. The best time for planting is around fall for healthier yields; spring time is ideal too though the cloves will sprout into small head garlic, but which are resistant to winter’s cold.

A single clove will produce full head garlic, thus you can determine how much garlic you harvest by the number of cloves you plant.

Types of Garlic

Generally, there are two types of garlic; those that grow with softer necks that can be braided and those with hard necks and stiff centered stalks. Soft neck garlic maintains their freshness longer and just like onions are harvested when the tops withers off. On the other hand, the hard necks are more winter tolerant and have to be harvested immediately the foliage layer begins browning. An added advantage of the hard necks is the green flowery scapes that can be harvested and eaten raw, sautéed, roasted or caramelized to accentuate the flavor.

Purchasing the Seed

When buying garlic seed, it’s best to use those seeds well suited for your environment. They should adapt to the weather conditions of your surrounding which will give you less work in terms of growing and nurturing them into full plants.

Garlic produces the best aromas when used fresh at all times. This is why keeping your own small garlic garden at home is a good idea. The above tips is all you need to start a thriving garlic garden and keep the supply going all year.

For more gardening tips at home, follow us at Pushing Daisies: Gardening Blog.

Grow Your Own Asparagus Patch

If you love asparagus and you would love to grow some on your own, you should probably get started right away. Although the asparagus bed will need time to hit its best stride, once it does, you can enjoy very quality produce every day. The great thing is, today there are some improved varieties of asparagus which won’t need so much work and so much attention to grow them. In case you want to grow asparagus, here are a few tips that you can use to get started:

Clear the Area of Any Weeds

The best way to ensure that your asparagus takes off is to grow it in a clear area where there is no weed. In light of this fact, the very first step in growing asparagus on your own is to find a small piece of land, clear all the weeds and vegetation until nothing is left. Once you are done with that, you can now begin making plans for planting.

Prepare the Bed

After you have removed all the weeds, it is now time to prepare the bed. Start by digging a 12” deep trench and one foot wide. After that, put in a shovel of compost in the trench and then add exactly one cup of all purpose organic fertilizer. Mix the two with the soil very well and make a mound. Plant the asparagus crowns on the mounds at an 18” interval across the bed until you have no more space.

Watering Tips

Asparagus plants are traditionally adapted to swampy areas and maintaining good moisture in the soil is vital when you grow asparagus. The best way to ensure water is supplied well is using drip irrigation albeit a soaker hose may also do the trick. During the first three to five years of growth, it is very important to ensure that the plant has enough water.

If you can get the simple basics right, there is no reason why you cannot get good produce from asparagus. However, don’t be greedy; start with a small harvest as you move increasing the amount year after year. Pushing Daisies is an insightful blog that provides tips and secrets on gardening.  Follow us for more tips and tricks that will give you the best-looking garden in your neighborhood.

Why You Should Buy A Live Christmas Tree And Plant It

Pushing Daisies would like to share one of our Christmas traditions with your family. We like to use live Christmas trees for our celebration. Preferably one with the roots still attached so we can transplant it outside afterwards.

We like to pick a tree with a root ball rather than a cut tree or potted one. A root ball weighs more, but we feel it is worth it. A six foot tree with its roots covered in burlap can weigh up to 250 pounds. A potted root system weighs much less, but doesn’t always survive a winter transplanting.

Trees with roots are more stable than a cut tree, and less likely to tip over. We’ve seen several customer pictures of someone’s backside knocking over the tree as they hand out packages.

A living tree holds its needles longer, and it stays green. There is less risk of fire. However, you’ll want to keep both kinds of trees watered on a regular basis.

A tree with root ball keeps indoors for about ten days before it starts to have new growth, which is bad in colder climates. After Christmas you’ll want to acclimate it for a couple of days in the garage before planting.

There is no yard waste to worry about. We’ve found the city is very uncooperative about picking up a dead cut tree. If it isn’t curbside on the scheduled pickup date, forget it. They aren’t coming back without charging a hefty fee.

Using a living Christmas tree helps the environment. It adds color to your yard. It reduces your carbon footprint. It will absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. A live tree attracts birds to the yard. It supplies food and a place to nest.

We enjoy watching the tree grow year after year. We have a living reminder of a past Holiday season. In subsequent years we decorate the tree with outdoor lights to enhance the Christmas cheer.

Follow Pushing Daisies for tricks and tips to assist you in having the most beautiful garden in your community. Be sure to tell your friends about us.