When to Harvest Strawberries – Gardening Tips 2021

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when to harvest strawberries

The epitome of a summer treat, strawberries are sure to delight both the young and the old. This versatile plant is easily grown in backyard gardens and is surprisingly easy to harvest.

When to harvest strawberries? Strawberries only take four to six weeks after planting to begin to bear fruit although more established plants will have a larger yield. The most common varieties are June-bearing strawberries, which yield a large harvest in June.

You can also find everbearing strawberries, which produce fruit from June to September. Look for the berries to be bright red in color and not hard. Once they are ready, take a pair of scissors and cut along the stems.

Pulling the strawberries off the plant can damage them. While strawberries should be washed before you eat them, you shouldn’t wash them right away. Instead, place them in the fridge where they will last three to four days.

Wash them right before you eat them for the best flavor. You can also freeze strawberries for up to two months. Of course, if you have an abundance of strawberries you can simply turn them into scrumptious jam.

Type of strawberries

There are different types of strawberries and which ones you are growing will determine when they are ready to harvest. Be sure to find out what type of strawberries you are so you can plan your summer.

Everbearing

Those that love strawberries and want them all summer long would do well to plant everbearing strawberries. These plants first grow fruit in the late spring and then continue to bear fruit into the fall.

You can expect the biggest crop in the late spring, around June, a smattering of strawberries during the summer, and then a medium-sized crop in late summer, around September. Keep picking them and enjoy an abundance of joy.

June-bearing

As their name suggests, June-bearing strawberries only produce fruit around June. You can get one harvest out of these plants so don’t miss out. Also, if you live in a warmer climate, you just might see your harvest begin to ready in May.

Day-neutral

While not quite as prolific as everbearing varieties, you can still expect ripe strawberries from June to September with these varieties. Expect a steady production that will satisfy your weekly cravings for strawberries.

How do you know when your strawberries are ready to harvest?

Beginning in May, you should start to watch for signs of your strawberries becoming ripe. First, there will be small white flowers and then the fruit will grow out of these.

Strawberries should be fully red in color. While they start off green, they will turn to red and you need to wait for this to happen.

Unlike other fruit, strawberries aren’t good at ripening on their own, so if you pick half-green strawberries, they will stay this way.

Strawberry growth is affected by the weather so if you have a cold spring, they will be ready later, and if you have a warmer spring, they may be ready earlier.

What happens if you don’t harvest strawberries?

what happens when you don't harvest strawberries

While we really recommend harvesting your strawberries each year in order to experience their delightful taste, there may be a time when you aren’t able to.

Strawberry plants will continue to grow and will come back the following year, which is why they are so good in a garden.

Strawberries don’t need a lot of attention so the fruit will simply turn to rot and fall off the plants, and then turn to organic matter which will help the soil.

Strawberries have seeds all over and there is always a chance these seeds will create new plants. You might just find yourself with an even larger strawberry patch after not harvesting them.

How to harvest strawberries?

Once your strawberries have turned fully red, you can start to pick them. Strawberry plants will produce some berries, followed by more at a later date, so you should go out to your garden every two to three days.

If you’re not sure if the berries are ripe yet, you can gently squeeze them. Don’t apply too much pressure as this will bruise them. However, if they are solid, they need a bit more time.

While it is tempting to simply pick your strawberries off the stems, this can lead to damage for both the berries and the plant. Instead, take some scissors and cut at the stem.

Should you wash strawberries after harvesting?

Strawberries should not be washed right after harvesting. They are extremely delicate and washing them will increase the onset of rot.

While you may be familiar with strawberries from the grocery store, these are much harder than your backyard varieties. Instead, leave your strawberries alone and only wash them right before you eat them.

Strawberries can become quite dirty. So, if you can see a lot of dust, you can submerge your berries in a bowl of water before rinsing and draining them.

Can you eat strawberries immediately after harvesting?

After giving your strawberries a quick wash after picking them, by all means, pop some berries into your mouth. Freshly picked strawberries are a real summer treat!

After you pick your strawberries, you need to store them in the fridge right away. If left on the counter, they will rot fairly quickly, especially if it is hot in the kitchen.

Place unwashed strawberries in your fridge. There, they will last for three to four days. Just be sure to monitor them for signs of rot as you don’t want your hard work to go to waste.

An alternative is to freeze your strawberries. Wash them and remove the stems.

Then, lay the berries on a baking tray and freeze them individually. Afterward, place them in a freezer bag. They will last for two to three months in the freezer.

Conclusion

Strawberries are plants that will quickly make up your favorite part of the garden. While there are different types of strawberries, they will be ready starting in June. Once fully ripe and luscious red color, you can pick them and enjoy them right away.

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