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I Run A Small Organization In Uganda, And We Are…

Lee Asked

I run a small organization in Uganda, and we are trying to grow ever-bearing strawberries in the tropics. I understand that the strawberries will go through phases when they grow fruit, but is there something I can do to prompt them to start fruiting faster?

The Gardener’s Answer

Hello, Lee in Uganda: Gardening in eastern Africa is certainly different than gardening in Kentucky, USA. The gardening fundamentals are the same but the growing conditions are very different. No matter where you are gardening, a healthy plant will bear fruit while one that is struggling will use up its energy to just get by. So, making sure that the strawberry plants are happy and healthy is essential in terms of fruit production. Fruit production and ripening is dependent on multiple factors, including age and environmental conditions; there is nothing else you can do to make the plants fruit any faster. It is true that your ever-bearing strawberries will go through phases of fruiting and storing up energy to fruit again, but they are perennial plants that will provide you with plenty of delicious fruit for years to come. Since you are growing in the tropics your plants may appreciate a break from the sun during the hottest part of the day. Even established plants may need supplemental water during dry periods and it is best to mulch your plants so the fruit does not come into contact with the soil. Mulching is also helpful for moisture retention. To prevent disease do not plant strawberries where peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, or potatoes have grown. As gardeners, it is sometimes hard to wait for the fruit of our labor but patience results in a sweet reward.

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