One strawberry plant is never enough!
The truth is, one plant will never, ever be enough, even if you are growing for just for one person! The average strawberry plant produces up to 1 quart of strawberries. And this is only when it is grown with ideal conditions, such as amended soil, the optimal climate, and fertilization. The average fruit-producing season lasts 3 – 4 weeks.
To put it in perspective, that is just two of those little pint-sized baskets you can get in the grocery store, roadside stand, or farmer’s market. One person can eat that many strawberries, fresh out of the basket, in a few days (if they last that long). On the other hand, if you will be slicing and sugaring for strawberry shortcake, strawberry pie or for parfaits, that 2-pints of berries will not go quite as far. Sugaring, to make that luscious juice, also reduces the volume by 25%.
So More Than One Strawberry Plant – But How Many?
The experts estimate and recommend growing 6 nicely-producing strawberry plants per person, per year, if you are just eating them fresh. However, if you are going to be freezing them, making jellies or jams, or processing for syrup, you should at least double the number of plants…and quite possibly triple that number.
You’ll also want to consider the number of friends and family members who will want some of your fresh strawberries for themselves. AND the kids, grandkids, and big kids who may be visiting and raiding your strawberry patch. A lot of strawberry gardeners make much appreciated gifts of jellies, jams, and syrups. If you have a giving nature, plant a lot more plants.
How Long Will the Plants Produce Fruit?
This part is up to you. Some strawberry beds have been in production for years. This involves harvesting and replanting runners as they become overcrowded, fertilizing, especially during fruit production, and the care you give your strawberry plants in late summer and early fall. The buds forming during this time will become the following season’s strawberries. However, even under the best growing conditions, strawberry plant production will start to slow after 5 years. This is one more reason to replant those runners – to always have younger plants to replace those plants that are past their prime.
The key to a bountiful strawberry garden is not just in the number of plants you start with but in how you nurture and expand your garden over time. Encouraging the growth of runners and replanting them is essential for refreshing your strawberry beds and keeping your garden vibrant and productive. This practice not only helps in replacing older, less productive plants but also in expanding your garden's capacity to feed more people.
In conclusion, while one strawberry plant might not feed more than one person for a couple of days, the real joy and abundance come from cultivating a garden that grows with you. Whether for personal consumption, sharing with loved ones, or teaching others about gardening, the number of people one strawberry garden can feed is limitless. With patience, care, and a community-minded spirit, your strawberry patch can become a source of endless delight and nourishment.