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Harvesting Strawberries

Sonia Nair May 12, 2019
As in case of many other fruits, strawberries too should be harvested at the right time, and in the proper way. Read some tips on harvesting these fruits.
One of the commonly found plants in home gardens, strawberries, are not that difficult to grow, if you know the right methods. If planted and taken care of aptly, these plants will yield good amount of lush red fruits for a few years. Apart from planting and growing properly, even harvesting has to be done at the right time, in the correct manner.

How to Harvest Strawberries

Strawberries are undoubtedly one of the ideal plants for a home garden. There are different varieties of strawberry plants to choose from. You must have a basic understanding about strawberry growing methods, that may vary slightly with the type of plant.
Make sure to get disease-free strawberry varieties and plant them during early spring. In general, these plants need good sun and well-drained, fertile soil. They need regular watering and mulching is done to conserve moisture in the soil. You may also use a strawberry fertilizer to feed these plants. 
Usually, the flowers produced by these plants during the first year of growth are removed, so as to ensure a good yield, the following year. Once the flowers emerge the next year and form fruits, you have to wait for a month for them to get ripe. In case, the weather is warm, the fruits may ripen fast. Once the fruits are ripe, you can harvest them.
  • When to harvest strawberries? As in case of many other fruits, strawberries are also harvested when they are ripe.
  • If you want sweet and juicy fruits, let the strawberries get ripe on the plants. If you pick the white fruits, they may turn red after a day or two. But, such fruits may lack the flavor and sweetness of the ripe, lush red ones.
  • So, pick strawberries, when they are juicy ripe with the characteristic red color. If you intend to use them for freezing, pick the ripe, but firm fruits.
  • Harvesting strawberries is usually done early in the morning, as the fruits will be cool at this time. During daytime, the fruits may get soft due to sunlight and hot weather. It is not advisable to pick them during rain.
  • If the weather is warmer, harvesting has to be done daily or in consecutive days, or, once in three days, you have to pick the fruits.
  • As strawberries are fragile fruits that may get bruised easily, you should not hold or grasp the berries while picking. All you have to do is to pinch of the stem (just above the green cap), so that the berry comes off with the green cap.
  • While harvesting strawberries, you have to refrain from pulling the stems, as there are chances that the whole stem with a bunch or ripe and unripe berries may snap off from the plant.
  • You have to place the berries in a shallow container with a depth of around five inches. If you use deep containers, there is a risk of crushing the berries that are placed at the bottom. So, once harvested, place them gently, in layers.
  • While harvesting, make sure not to keep the fruits in sunlight, for more than 15 to 20 minutes. These strawberries can be stored in the refrigerator for two to three days (in lightly covered, shallow containers). You should not wash them before refrigerating. You may also preserve them in the form of jams, jellies, etc.
As compared to the tasks of growing and caring strawberries, harvesting is the best part and is really easy, if done properly. It is said that harvesting strawberries is like an art that is easy to master. So, grow these plants in your home garden and enjoy harvesting fresh strawberries.