While strawberries do best when grown in moist, cooler regions - there is sure to be a variety that will grow and thrive where you live. Your yield of strawberries will be a direct result of the care you have given them.
- You should keep in mind that the main enemies to strawberries are grub worms and weeds. It is best to plant your strawberry beds in an area that has already been cultivated. Areas where previous crops have grown (such as potatoes) are a good place to plant a strawberry bed. By planting in an area that has already been used, you are almost guaranteed that it is not full of weeds and grub worms.
- If you do not have such an area, it is important that you make sure the ground where you will be planting your strawberries is very well prepared. Your strawberries will be growing there for at least two years. Since strawberries have a shallow root system, all of their moisture and nutrients will come from the top few inches of soil. Your soil should be rich in humus - compost, peat and manure. These materials will help the soil hold moisture. The soil should be slightly acid and should test between 5.5 to 6.0. It should be tilled to one foot and be fairly loose.
- Spring is usually the best time to plant strawberries. How many plants you will grow will depend upon how many strawberries you want to harvest. A first time strawberry gardener will usually plant between 25-75 plants in their bed.
- The easiest way to plant strawberries is to use a matted row. Using this method, you will set your plants about 18 inches apart. Each additional row you add should be about three feet apart from the previous row. This method of planting allows the strawberries to run. They will then produce new plants. These new plants will have to be steered.
To plant, make a hole about seven inches wide. Make it deep enough for your strawberry plant's roots. Place the plant in the hole with the crown just above soil level. Firm the soil up around the plant.
- During the first growing season, you should pick off the blossoms. You do not want any fruit to grow this first season. You will harvest the fruit during your second growing season.
- You should cover your strawberry beds with straw over the winter months. This will protect the strawberries from the cold and it provides a good mulch the following spring.
- Early morning is the best time to pick your ripe strawberries. Strawberries should be picked as soon as they ripen. This may mean you are picking strawberries every day during the harvest season. Strawberries should be put into a cool place as soon as possible to keep them fresh. Do not wash your berries until you are ready to eat them or freeze them. Water makes them spoil faster.