Fresh strawberries are one of the joys of summer. Strawberry shortcake, strawberry preserves, and berry smoothies are just some of the tasty treats we enjoy when it is the season. Jewel strawberry plants are prolific producers, easy to grow and tolerant of a range of conditions. They even have moderate winter hardiness and suitable for USDA zones 4 to 8. Read on for more Jewel strawberry info and see if they are the right variety for your garden.
Jewel Strawberry Info
The berries from a Jewel strawberry plant are exactly what you picture when you think of this variety of fruit. Firm, deeply red and juicy, the berries adapt to a host of uses. What are Jewel strawberries? They are on the list of the top 10 strawberries. The plants are resistant to the more common strawberry problems and self-pollinate, with fruit that has a delicious scent and flavor.
Jewel strawberry plants are a hybrid, which is recommended for commercial, home gardens and you-pick operations. The plant is low growing, hugging the ground and spreading by stolon. Each plant is 12 inches (30 cm.) tall with a similar spread.
In just a year from planting you can be harvesting bright red, wedge shaped fruits. The berries are especially good for freezing but also lend themselves well to fresh fruit concoctions. Jewel is a midseason variety that starts to ripen in June. The berries are large, and the plant produces plenty of the sweet fruit. Jewel is also an adaptable variety that needs very little supplemental care.
How to Grow Jewel Strawberries
Nurseries, mail order catalogs and online garden centers carry the Jewel variety. They usually come as a bare root plants, although occasionally can be found as plant starts. If it is too early to plant, keep the starts in a cool location with moderate light and moisten roots regularly.
Prior to planting, incorporate some well-rotted compost to enhance drainage and nutrient density. Gradually harden off new plants for a 7-day period by exposing them slowly to the outdoors in a shady location for longer and longer periods of time. Ensure the roots stay moist during this process.
Space plants 12 inches (30 cm.) apart in loose, well-draining soil in full sun. Pinch the flowers the first year to develop thick, vigorous plants.
Keep the bed moderately moist and weed free. Add compost as a side dressing every spring when new growth emerges to feed the roots and enhance plant growth. When plants begin to die back for winter, cover the bed in straw in late fall. This will minimize heaving and help keep the roots warm. As early spring arrives, pull away the straw and use it in your compost pile or push to the edges to minimize weeds.
Slugs and snails love strawberries as much as we do. Set beer traps or use copper taping around the bed to repel these pests. Avoid watering overhead when plants cannot dry before nightfall to minimize fungal issues. Each plant bears for 3 to 5 years, but because the internodes root and produce more plants, there will be a steady supply of fruit for years to come.