There’s nothing like some homegrown strawberries. They are a fairly simple fruit to grow, they don’t take too long to grow, and harvesting them and then tasting them makes it all worth it. To plant potted strawberries adequately, you’re going to need a drill, 1 inch PVC pipe, a PVC cap or some duct tape, and strawberry pots. The PVC pipe will be placed inside the strawberry pot, and the length required will vary based on how big your strawberry pots are.
First, you should set your strawberry pot in water for an hour while you prepare the PVC pipe. Strawberry pots absorb water from soil, and by soaking them in water before-hand, they will not take from the soil.
To prepare the PVC piping, drill 1/8′ diameter holes down the pipe in spots that will line up with the strawberry pot holes. This is so when watered, every plant is watered evenly and your crops will be more uniform. If you do not have a PVC pipe, you may have a cardboard tube large enough to suffice.
After that, put a cap on the bottom end of the PVC pipe so that water only leaks out where you want it to. And, just so that soil won’t leak from the hole in the bottom of your strawberry pot, place a cloth over the hole. Now you’re ready to plant!
The best strawberry plants for strawberry pots are everbearing and day-neutral strawberries. Also mixing compost in with your soil will do good for the plants.
To begin planting, start filling your pot with soil until you reach the lowest pocket in your pots. Then place your strawberry plants in those pockets, and make sure the crown of the plant is just barely above soil level. Next, place the PVC pipe you made into the center of the pot, and begin filling the soil up to the next highest pocket. Continue placing your strawberry plants in the pockets and add soil until you reach two inches from the top of the pot. You can usually plant around 4 extra plants in the top hole in your strawberry pot, but you can add more if the pot is larger.
Watering and Feeding
After you finish planting, water the plants very well, by pouring water down the PVC pipe. To know when to water, put your finger one knuckle deep into the soil, and if it is dry, they need watered. Also, strawberries need at least six hours of sunlight per day, so move them through out the day in order to give them the sun they need.
If your strawberry plant’s leaves turn yellow within the first month of planting, you should apply a fertilizer. The best fertilizer for strawberries is a 10-10-10 balanced mixture. Other than that, you should fertilize once in the spring and fall, making sure to follow the package directions.
The picture on the right is a very helpful visual diagram for understanding how this strawberry pot system works.
Good luck growing your pots o’ berries!
So now that you have “fresh” home-grown strawberries; why not make some Home-Made Strawberry Ice Cream. This is a favorite treat at any 4th of July Celebration and a delight to make and enjoy because the intense strawberry flavor just knocks you flat with bliss.
Strawberry Ice Cream
Prep time – 4 hours
- 3 cups Half-and-half
- 2 cups Sugar
- 1 whole Vanilla Bean (or 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract)
- 9 whole Large Egg Yolks
- 3 cups Heavy Cream
- 1 pound Strawberries, Hulled
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar
Stir together the half-and-half and 2 cups sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Split the vanilla bean, scrape out the caviar, and add it to the mixture (or add the vanilla extract.) Heat the mixture until it’s hot but not simmering or boiling.
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks vigorously with a whisk until they start to lighten in color, about 2 minutes.
Next, grab a ladle of the hot half-and-half mixture and very slowly drizzle it into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking the whole time. (The purpose of this is to temper the egg yolks and bring them to a good temperature before adding them to the pan.) Repeat with a second ladle of hot half-and-half mixture, making sure to whisk the whole time.
Pour the tempered yolks into the saucepan with the rest of the half and half mixture and stir gently with a wooden spoon for 2 to 4 minutes, cooking it slowly until it’s thick enough to coat the spoon.
Pour the thick liquid through a fine mesh strainer and into a clean bowl. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and stir gently to combine. Refrigerate this mixture for 2 hours, or until chilled.
Meanwhile, combine the strawberries and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a blender. Puree until smooth (or you can stop just short of smooth if you want a little texture.) Pour the pureed strawberries into the chilled custard mixture and stir.
Now pour this mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze it according to its directions. (You may have to do it in two batches depending on its size.) After it freezes, transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze it for at least 4 hours, or until frozen firm.
Serve with strawberry garnish!
Now, the hardest part of home made ice cream is the patience: When it comes out of the ice cream maker, it’s basically soft serve (which is delicious, of course). So I transfer it into freezer containers and stick it in the freezer for at least 4-6 hours. It’s really better if you freeze it overnight, so try to make your ice cream the day before you need it so it’s nice and firm.
Now, about the color: If you want your strawberry ice cream to have a deep pink color, you’ll have to add a little bit of food coloring. The natural color of strawberry ice cream is…well, natural! I happen to like it that way, but feel free to add neon pink food coloring if you want it to be a freaky color.