Thursday, April 21, 2011

Strawberry Bloom

   Strawberries are in full bloom now.  They started blooming about 10 days ago, and will keep blooming for the next couple weeks.  So strawberries will be ripe about May 10 to June 4 or so.
   Each year in mid-Dec. I place straw mulch over the strawberry plants to protect the crowns from winter freezing and thawing.  (That's why they're called strawberries.)  The mulch prevented winter damage, so we didn't lose any strawberry fruit to the -17 F winter.  In mid-March, I remove the mulch from the tops of the strawberry plants so they can grow, and place it in the aisles to provide a soft material for harvest, and to keep berries off the ground so they don't develop fruit rots.
   Since strawberries bloom for almost a month, from early April to early May, some of the first blossoms always get killed by late spring frosts.  The closed buds can take temperatures down to the lower 20's F without damage, but open blossoms are injured at 32 F or below.
The blossom at lower left, with the dark center, was killed by a frost so won't produce a fruit.  Thankfully, many more flowers open over several weeks, and all the others will produce fruit.
    Our strawberry planting is small, so strawberries are pick-your-own only, by appointment only.  If you'd like to arrange a time to pick strawberries, call 620-597-2450 and leave a message, or e-mail reiadfarm@ckt.net.  We grow 'Earliglow' strawberry, which has fantastic flavor -- MUCH better than grocery-store strawberries!