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National Strawberry Month

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Celebrate the love of strawberries this May.

Ah, strawberries, the first fruit to ripen in Spring. A favorite fruit to plant for growers - and eaters! As May celebrates strawberries, we at Mastergardening.com wish to join-in on the fun to offer fun facts about strawberries; growing tips, fruit management ideas and recipes.

Strawberry Facts

  • Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside.
  • On average, Americans eat around 3.5 pounds of strawberries per year!
  • Strawberries were once a symbol of peace and prosperity in Medieval Times.
  • Strawberries are part of the Rose family.
  • Strawberries can help reduce the risk of cancer and heart attacks.
  • Strawberries can be pickled.
  • California produces 80% of the U.S. strawberries (thanks, CA!)

How to grow strawberry plants

Now is the time to plant strawberries for the summer season. There are two types of strawberry varieties that can be grown and each will depend on your liking. Whichever variety of berry you choose, these summer producing strawberries can be broken down mid-to-late summer and can be enjoyed throughout the season. Just remember, unlike other fruits, strawberries do not continue growing after being broken down.

1) Make sure you are ready to grow after you buy plants. Leaving them too long unattended can leave the plant unhealthy and lack growing power.

2) Be sure to inspect the strawberry plant for plant disease before attempting to grow strawberries. You'll want to look for wilted ends, spots and brown edges.

3) Choose where to grow your strawberries. Strawberries thrive in areas with direct sunlight without shade. If you live in colder climates, you may need to begin the growing process inside, in a container, where temperature adjustments can be made accordingly.Be sure to check them regularly, water them and fertilize the soil for healthier plants.

Fruit Protection Strategies

Deer love just about the same fruits that we love; and since 94% of households do eat strawberries, you can guarantee that deer will devour the fruit if given the chance. For this reason, Mastergardening suggests two fruit management tricks that can send deer away for good. 

1) Plant a thorny barrier around strawberries to keep away deer and other wildlife. If critters try to investigate the fruit, they will get a small stab.

2) Install a deer fence around fruit gardens: Don't give deer the satisfaction of taste-testing your hard work. A poly deer fence is ideal for areas with low deer pressure; but metal deer fencing will work best for higher levels of deer activity. Be sure to stake down the fence with ground stakes to stop digging critters from sneaking in from the bottom of the fence.

3) Place deer netting around fruit bushes to reinforce bird control. Garden netting is easy to use and can be used not just for strawberries, but also blueberries and grapes.

Strawberry Recipe

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/37/Strawberry_Cream_Cake.jpgBetty Crocker Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients

1 box yellow cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs as called for on cake mix box
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened Save $
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1 container (13.5 oz) strawberry glaze

Steps

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with shortening or spray bottom only with cooking spray.
  • Make and bake 13x9-inch cake as directed on box, using water, oil and eggs. Cool completely, about 1 hour
  • In large bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spread evenly over cake.
  • In medium bowl, gently stir together sliced strawberries and strawberry glaze. Spread mixture on top of cream cheese layer. Cut and serve. Store in refrigerator.