How do you know when strawberries are ready to pick or not? What signs do you look out for, what color should the fruits be? Let’s learn together!
Strawberries are one of the easiest fruits to grow and an excellent fruit for beginner gardeners. Freshly harvested strawberries are very rewarding in terms of taste and have a great flavor than what you find in a grocery store.
This is because the sugar content in berries converts to starch soon after they’re harvested. Therefore, growing your own strawberries in your garden is the best thing ever. These fruits are easy to grow in almost all climates and soils across the United States. You can grow them anywhere as long as you plant them in a location that receives full sun.
When Are Strawberries Ready To Pick
Strawberry plants come in three types, and this determines when to pick them. They include:
June Bearing Varieties
This strawberry type bears fruit all at once for 3 weeks in June. This variety is one of the best types of strawberries for gardeners. It produces fruit in early June, making it perfect for the summer holidays.
June-bearing type produces buds in the autumn, flowers, and fruits in the following June during the long summer days. Although called June bearing or June bearers, these strawberries produce earlier than June in warmer climates.
The June bearing varieties do not provide any fruit during the first year of the development. However, the wait is well worth it as the plant bears lots of fruit from the second year onwards.
Unlike the June bearing type, Everbearing varieties produce a significant crop during the spring season, producing a little in the summer and late fall.
This type form buds during the long days of summer and short days of autumn. The summer buds flower and fruit in the autumn and the autumn buds produce fruit the following spring.
This variety is easy to incorporate into your garden. When planting, bury the seedling into the soil, about the depth of your thumbnail, and ensure they get plenty of direct sunlight each day.
Most gardeners love the everbearing strawberry plant because of the considerable harvest it offers throughout the year.
Neutral Day Varieties
This variety produces fruit continuously through the season until the first frost appears. However, the production is less than that of June bearers. This variety is insensitive to day lengths, producing buds, fruits, and runners only if the temperatures remain between 35 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Growth Stages Of Strawberries Before They Are Ready To Pick
Strawberry plants create a flowering stalk called an inflorescence. The inflorescence contains a cluster of individual flowers that are uniquely formed in each flower in stock.
These plants create the flowers slowly rather than all at once, staggering the number of open flowers each time. This allows each flower to become successfully pollinated, improving reproductive success. There’s also an increase in the yield of the plants in the garden.
June bearing varieties stop flowering once the day length is greater than 10 hours. The most common pollinators for strawberry plants are honey bees. Once these flowers have been successfully pollinated, a process of maturing fruits begins.
Sunlight, soil fertility, water, and warmth are excellent growing conditions that the strawberry plants require to produce fully mature berries.
The growth process takes about 4 weeks but can be extended by an additional week or two depending on the variety.
Strawberries are unique fruits because the seeds are not enclosed on the inside; instead, they are contained outside. This type of fruit is known as a receptacle.
How To Know When Strawberries Are Ripe
Picking strawberries should happen only when you are sure they are ripe. The strawberry size is specific to its variety, so the best way to know when to pick strawberries is to look at their color.
As they ripen, they transition from white to light pink with white spots to full pink, to red, then burgundy when they’re ready to pick.
The best time to pick strawberries is when the berry is entirely red and firm. If you wait until the berry is too dark, it will begin to form soft purple spots and expire. If you harvest strawberry that still has white spots, it lacks their full flavor and sweetness.
When you look through your strawberry garden, you’ll be able to notice a spectrum of red maturation. This means one ripe berry might be next to another immature berry next to a new flower.
Visit your garden daily and look out for fresh fruit, one of the most exciting things to grow strawberries.
How To Harvest Strawberries When Ready To Pick
As you grow strawberries in your garden or pots, you need to understand the correct way to harvest. Strawberries are usually ready for the first 4 to 6 weeks after the plant blossoms.
Maintaining a consistent care routine for your strawberry patch during the growing season will likely take about 6 weeks. So when are strawberries ready to pick? Ripe strawberries are ready for harvest when the berry is entirely red.
Once the berries are red, use a pair of sharp gardening scissors to snip the fruit at the stem. When harvesting strawberries, do not pull the berry from the branch as it leads to damage.
Storing Freshly Picked Strawberries
Now that you understand when to pick strawberries, you must also learn how to store them. Do not let fresh strawberries sit at room temperature for too long to catch harmful bacteria and get mold faster.
To extend their shelf life, place them in an airtight container in the fridge after washing and drying. Refrigeration keeps the strawberry cool and ready to eat.
Another great way to preserve your strawberries is by freezing them. Cover a cookie sheet with a single layer of parchment paper and evenly space your strawberries lying on that sheet. Place the sheet in the freezer, and after they have entirely frozen, transfer them into a freezer bag on an airtight container to block out oxygen that tries to sneak into the bag.
And there you are; your freshly-picked strawberries are preserved for more extended use.
The next time a fellow gardener asks you when a strawberry is ready to pick, let them know you can only have faced them when they are entirely red and have a firm skin.
Do not wait for your strawberry’s skin to become soft, and at this point, they’re on their way to being destroyed.
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