Fragaria × ananassa
Strawberries come in a wide assortment cultivated varieties and are delicious, juicy, sweet and known for their wonderful aroma. Strawberries are great in the garden because they are easy to grow, like a variety of soils, easy to propagate through runners and they are perennial, so you can keep them year after year, though it is recommended to replace mother plants every few years.
The best time to plant is in spring or late summer. A pH level of 6.0 to 6.5 is the best soil for growing strawberries, but a range of 5.5 to 7.0 is also acceptable. Plant in full sun or dappled shade, and in somewhat sandy soil. The addition of manure and a thin layer of straw mulch or other mulch / ground cover.
How to Plant
You can start from seed or you can buy your first plants from a nursery and then grow more from the runners yourself. If planting from seed, put a couple of seeds into each 6mm deep hole, 15cm apart or in separate containers.
How to Water
Water strawberries immediately after planting. After that water once a week, or not at all if there is at least 30mm of rain. If you are making new plants from runners keep them moist or in a party covered area so that they don’t dry out.
Good companion plants for Strawberries is Borage, Garlic, Spinach, Lupin Flowers, Lettuce and Thyme.
Avoid broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale and kohlrabi.
How to Propagate
Runners can be taken from the plant or removed to encourage more energy towards the fruit. A good way to make new plants is to place the tip of the runner in a small growing container next to the mother plant and then cutting it off as soon as they have set roots in the growing container.
How to Harvest
Strawberries should ideally be harvested at least every other day. The berries are picked with the caps still attached and with at least 1.5cm of stem left. Strawberries need to remain on the plant to fully ripen because they do not continue to ripen after being picked.
Information & Research
Flavonoids, Vitamin C, Manganese, tannins, acids, smaller amounts of other vitamins and minerals, as well as a variety of chemicals that make up the fragrance and pigment.
Anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antioxidant and decreased cardiovascular disease risk (12).
Studies show that the anticancer effects of berry bioactives are partially mediated through the ability to counteract, reduce, and also repair damage resulting from oxidative stress and inflammation(12).
Preparations & Uses
The berries are harvested and used. Unlike some other berries I have not found any information about the use of the leaves.
Strawberries can be used fresh or frozen (fresh is always better) and can also be used to make a variety of preserves, fruit juice, ice cream, pies, cakes etc.
The best way to get the benefits of strawberries is to include the fruit in your diet and eating them fresh whenever possible.