Strawberries - 5 reasons to grow, 5 reasons to consume

The best tasting strawberries are the ones eaten straight out of the field! With the strawberry season quickly approaching, all of us here at Kimmel Orchard are preparing for this exciting time. Strawberries are always a favorite among the community because of their delectable taste. This delicate berry may appear hard to grow, but strawberries are actually fairly simple to grow at home. Here are 5 tips and tricks to growing mouth-watering berries in your own backyard. 

1. Strawberries don't need a large garden to grow. They can be grown in containers or pots on decks, porches, patios, or balconies. 

2. Select the proper cultivar for your location. There are many different cultivars of strawberries to plant. If the soil or area the strawberries will be planted in is susceptible to certain insects or diseases, select the correct type to avoid damage to your plants. To ensure successful growth, check your local extension office or research the best type to plant. 

3. Strawberries don't have straw in their name for no reason. Consider laying straw around the strawberry plants to avoid weeds, conserve water, keep the roots cool, and lift the berries off the ground. Grass clippings, shredded leaves, or even pine needles can work as well. 

4. Watering is necessary at planting and when the fruit is filling out. The key is a steady supply of water during these times. Strawberries need about 1 inch of water per week. However, don't let the strawberries sit in wet soil or root rot disease can develop. 

5. Harvest in the morning. Strawberries should be harvested in the morning when the weather is cool and be refrigerated soon after to stay juicy and fresh. 

Experiment with growing to know what grows well in your location! If that didn't convince you that strawberries should be grown and consumed, this will! They also provide 5 major health benefits. 

1. Strawberries are good for your heart and can lower blood pressure. Studies have shown that regularly consuming strawberries may aid in preventing platelet build-up, reduce blood pressure, and can even reduce the risk of a heart attack because of the anthocyanins they contain. Also, because of the high levels of potassium in strawberries, this fruit helps neutralize the effects of sodium in the body. 

2. Strawberries boost digestive health. Strawberries are high in fiber, which helps prevent constipation. Learn what other foods are high in fiber with this article. 

3. Strawberries reduce inflammation. Strawberries contain the anti-inflammatory properties of anthocyanin along with other phytochemicals to boost antioxidant health benefits. Want to know what other foods help reduce inflammation? Click here.  

4. Strawberries help support a healthy pregnancy. With folic acid being one of the most recommended supplements among pregnant women, strawberries are rich in this natural nutrient. Check out this article on why you should eat strawberries while pregnant. 

5. Strawberries can help whiten teeth. Because of the malic acid strawberries contain, they can help create a pearly white smile. Click here to learn how to whiten your teeth using strawberries. 

You can't say no to fresh strawberries now. Easy to grow yet nutritious and delicious!

Alyssa Rosenbaum and Sarah Betts - Summer Interns