Fruit

Strawberries:
Home-grown, vine-ripened strawberries are among the garden's supreme treats- sweet, succulent, and bursting with flavor. Serve them in shortcakes, blended into smoothies, on ice cream, in cheesecakes or crepes, topped with yogurt or whipped cream, or simply savor them "as is" fresh from the garden. Grocery store strawberries, which are harvested early and ripened off the vine, can't begin to compare in sweetness and flavor.

Strawberries are also easy to grow in the home garden. The plants form foot-wide mounds of lush dark green foliage that can serve as an attractive ground cover. They require no staking or training, as do the larger berries, and only basic care. Once planted they will spread and continue to produce for four or five years before they need to be replaced.

Strawberry plants also grow well in pots, patio planters, even in hanging planters. While there are many varieties of strawberries, there are basically only two types: June-bearing (Allstar)and Everbearing (Ozark and Quinalt). The June-bearing strawberries bloom in the spring and produce a plentiful crop that ripens during June. The Everbearing strawberries produce both a spring and a fall crop, and continue producing some berries throughout the summer, more when temperatures aren't too hot. For the home gardener, the best strategy is to plant both types and harvest ripe berries over a long season.

Planting and Care Basic Requirements
Strawberries can be planted in both the spring and fall. They need a sunny location with good drainage. Because strawberries stay in the ground for several years, it is advisable to prepare the soil first by working it well, amending it with organic material such as compost or leaf mold to promote drainage, and manure to make it fertile. In locations that don't drain well, creating a raised bed is an effective solution.

Strawberries require little attention after planting, especially in well-prepared soil. Water often enough to keep the soil moist, and it helps to cover the bed with a mulch of compost, bark, or pine needles if available. The mulch will help keep the soil moist and cool, and will also cut down on weeding. Soon your plants will grow leaves and begin flowering. For plants that produce the best over the long run, it is advisable to pick off the flowers for the first six weeks, and trim off any runners the plants may send out. By doing this you will promote strong root growth and more plentiful berries later on. It is best to simply pull weeds by hand and avoid cultivating too close to the plants. Strawberry roots often are shallow and can be damaged. In the fall, you can apply a fertilizer to give them a boost for the next season. By the next Spring, your fully established plants will give you lush growth and a bountiful crop of delicious strawberries to enjoy.

Preparing the Plants
Strawberries come in bareroot bundles. When you receive your plants separate the bundled plants, remove any dried leaves at their tops, and soak the roots in water for an hour or two before planting. If you have to keep the plants for a time before you can plant them, moisten the roots and place them in a plastic bag to keep the roots moist and put them where they are protected from direct sun. If the roots are long, you can trim them back to about 4 or 5 inches in length before planting.

Planting
In beds, plants should be spaced about or foot or a little more apart. If planted in rows, leave a foot between each plant and enough space (about 2 feet) between the rows for you to walk. Make a small hole in the soil large enough to accommodate the roots. Fan the roots out and fill in with soil and pack the soil gently around the roots. It is important that the planted strawberry have its crown just above the surface. If the crown is under the soil, it risks rotting. If it is too high, the roots are exposed and may dry out. Once you have your plants in the ground, give each plant about a pint of water to help settle the soil around the roots.

Blackberries:
Plant 3-4" deep about 18" apart in almost any soil. Moderate water.

Blueberries:
Needs a high acid soil (4.5-5.0 ph) with ample water. Plant bushes 4-5 feet apart. Wait to trim for 4 to 5 years.

Boysenberries:
Plant in sandy loam soil 2 feet apart. Boysenberries may need trellising.

Currants:
Will grow in most soils except a very sandy soil. They like a heavy soil better. Plant 3 feet apart

Dewberries:
Plant Dewberries 2 feet apart. For optima production trellising may be necessary. Sandy loam soil is best.

Gooseberries:
Will grow in most soils except a very sandy soil. They like a heavy soil better. Plant 3 feet apart.

Grapes:
Likes a well drained sandy loam to a loamy clay soil.  Plant 7-10 feet apart in rows with about 2/3 of the plant in the gound.  Needs to be supported by an arbor or trellis. Wait to trim for 2 years.

Raspberries:
(Black Raspberry, Purple Raspberry)
Plant in sandy loam soil 2 feet apart. Black and Purple Raspberries will stand by themselves.

(Red Raspberry, Yellow Raspberry)
Likes a variety of soil. Put plants 18 inches apart. Roots will spread to make new plants in the following year.


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