Growing Strawberries In The Home Garden

Sweet, succulent, vine-ripened strawberries fresh from the garden are a treat for the entire family. Although you may not think you have a “green thumb”, with a bit of planning and preparation, strawberries are a crop that is easily grown at home.

Choosing A Location For The Strawberry Patch
Strawberries grow best in well-drained sandy loam soil that is rich in organic compost and slightly acidic. PH should be approximately 5.5 to 6.8 for optimum fruit production.

Select a location where your strawberry plants will receive full sun. Strawberries will not produce well in semi-shade or shaded areas. Avoid choosing a low-lying area of the garden that may be subject to standing water or susceptible to a late frost.

Avoid locating your strawberry bed in an area of the garden where potatoes, peppers, eggplants or tomatoes have been previous cultivated. These plants are affected by many of the same soil-borne plant diseases that can infect strawberries. It is wise to reduce the risk of soil-borne disease by choosing a growing area free of possible contamination.

Preparing The Strawberry Bed
If the location you choose for your strawberry bed is not blessed with sandy loam soil that drains readily, you may want to consider building a raised bed. A raised bed can be constructed with a frame, or you can simply mound the soil in rows approximately 18 to 24-inches apart. No matter what type of strawberry bed you design, strawberry roots like lots of “wiggle room” so the bed should be at least 8 to 10-inches deep.

Strawberries flourish in soil that is high in organic material. Add well-aged herbivore manure (sheep, cow, horse, mule, lama, goat) and work the manure well into the soil. Experienced gardeners suggest preparing the bed a year before planting and then covering the bed with a cover crop of clover, buckwheat or rye. The manures and cover crop are then cultivated into the soil the following spring. The cover crop will control weeds in the planting bed as well as adding additional organic material.

Selecting Your Strawberry Plants
A visit to the plant nursery can be a bit confusing as you will find that there are three distinctly different types of strawberry plants: day-neutral, June-bearing and ever-bearing. They all taste delicious, so try several varieties in your garden until you find the one that consistently performs best in your location and soil conditions.

For the home garden, ever-bearing strawberry plants are the best choice. Although June-bearing varieties tend to produce the biggest berries, they are most susceptible to disease and insect pests. Day-neutral varieties produce an abundance of small, yet very sweet berries. Ever-bearing strawberries produce two crops annually, are disease resistant and produced good-sized berries. Ever-bearing strawberries typically produce a good crop for three to four years, and then the plants should be replaced.

Gardeners wishing to cultivate strawberries in the home garden need a bit of patience. Strawberries do not produce in abundance until the second year. However, your patience will be rewarded with vigorous growth and luscious, sweet strawberries you grew yourself.

Find the Right Home Improvement Contractors

Home sellers will want to do everything they can to accelerate the sales process. And in many cases, home improvements may be necessary, which means you’ll likely need to find a dependable contractor to help you enhance the quality of your residence.

Although finding a qualified, affordable home improvement contractor may seem impossible at first, there are many ways to ensure that you’re able to employ the best contractor for any upcoming home improvement project.

Here are three tips that you can use to ensure that you’re able to find a great home improvement contractor:

1. Conduct a Phone Interview.

For some home repairs, you may be forced to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars. As such, you’ll want to work with a top-notch home improvement contractor who will complete the necessary work to the best of his or her abilities.

Typically, you’ll want to conduct a phone interview before you hire a home improvement contractor. By doing so, you can ensure that both you and a home improvement professional are on the same page and can work together to transform any home repair project into a successful one.

Asking about a home improvement contractor’s expertise and experience is essential during a phone interview. Plus, you should ask for professional references and be prepared to answer a contractor’s questions about your home improvement project.

2. Meet Face to Face.

If a home improvement professional proves that he or she may be a viable candidate to complete your home improvement project, you should host a face-to-face meeting.

A face-to-face meeting enables a contractor to explain exactly how he or she will approach your home repair project. It also may allow a contractor to get an up-close look at your residence and ensure that he or she is capable of finishing the project on schedule and budget.

Furthermore, a face-to-face meeting may help you become more comfortable with a home improvement contractor. This meeting will allow you to get answers to any concerns or questions and ensure that you’re able to find a great professional to help you complete your home repair project.

3. Finalize a Contract.

A home improvement project represents a major endeavor, so you’ll want to put the terms of your agreement with a contractor into a written agreement.

The agreement should include details about every step of the project, including the products and materials that a home improvement professional will use, proof of liability insurance and a payment schedule. Also, you should not sign this agreement unless you feel comfortable with all of its terms.

A clear agreement is paramount for both you and a home improvement contractor. And after you finalize this agreement, your contractor will be able to start working to repair your home and bolstering its quality immediately.

Use the aforementioned tips to take the guesswork out of finding a reliable contractor to complete a home improvement project. By doing so, you’ll be able to hire a great contractor who will help you improve your chances of maximizing the value of your residence.