Bring On The Berries: Starting Your Own U-Pick Strawberry Patch

Posted on: 10 April 2017

If you love gardening and sharing your home-grown crops with others, you might consider starting a U-Pick strawberry patch.  You can transform an empty patch of land into a luscious field of red berries for families to come and spend time together picking strawberries.  As a bonus, you still get all the berries you can eat and you'll make some extra cash as well.

Prepare the Land for Planting

Choose a level area of ground away from trees, which will siphon away more water from your berries than you think. Strawberries like to grow in full sun.

Plow or till the ground in the fall. Because strawberry plants are planted quite early in the spring, the ground is still too wet to plow properly. Also, the freshly plowed earth has time over winter to freeze and thaw, which helps break down large chunks of dirt. This also helps rid the ground of white grubs which like to eat plant roots.

Choosing the Strawberry Plants

Commercially grown berries are bred to be large in size to tempt buyers, and sturdy enough for shipping around the country.  Unfortunately, they are often lacking in smell and taste. A U-Pick farm can offer more delicate varieties that do not need to be gigantic and durable, but smell heavenly and are loaded with sugar and luscious strawberry flavor.

Strawberry plants ripen at different times of the year. With careful planning and planting several different varieties, you can have berries for picking all season long. Here are a few varieties worth trying:

  • Sparkle – This is a very soft, very fragrant berry that also makes incredible jam. It ripens in late June and is cold hardy.
  • Jewel – A late season berry, this variety is firm but very sweet. It has wonderful elongated fruits.
  • Tribute – This ever-bearing variety really kicks into gear in June, but also puts out some large berries again in the fall.
  • All Star – This plant produces the perfect strawberry shape. It has delicate skin and light red color.

Planting Time

Your grower can explain how to plant each individual strawberry plant perfectly. It really does matter if it is planted to deep, too shallow and just right. Roots should be covered completely, but not the crown. Too deep, and the roots rot. Too shallow and the roots become exposed, killing the plant.

Growers can also recommend how many plants you need based on row length and number, as well as proper spacing. Once planted, place mulch between each row and around each plant. This will keep moisture in, weeds out, and help keep mud off of your customers while they are picking.

Let the Fun Begin

Tap into your creative business side and set up signs for advertising. Decide on your price per pound and have an accurate scale and calculator. If you want, you can provide picking containers or let customers bring their own. Have fun getting to know your customers that love picking and eating strawberries as much as you do!

For more information, contact companies like Kauai Nursery & Landscaping Inc.