Unlike their rambling cousins, alpine strawberries are tidy, mounding plants that are ideal for small-space gardens. All summer long they produce handfuls of 3/4", intensely flavored fruits that are perfect for topping a bowl of cereal, dish of ice cream or fruity beverage.
Although alpine strawberries can be started from seed, it's faster and easier to start with small plants. Plant them around the edge of your beds so the berries can cascade down the sides. Set out the plants in spring, in rich soil that's been amended with compost. Although they prefer full sun, they'll tolerate some shade, especially in regions with hot summers. Add a thin layer of pine bark or other organic mulch around the base of the plants to conserve moisture for the shallow roots. Perennial in zones 3 to 10, these durable plants require little extra care beyond the usual watering and fertilizing.
Wait to harvest these little gems until the fruit turns bright red. Checking plants daily becomes a treasure hunt for the delectable morsels.
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