HOW TO PLANT STRAWBERRIES
- Provide adequate space for sprawling. Set plants out 20 inches apart to leave room for runners and leave 4 feet between rows. Strawberries are sprawling plants. Seedlings will send out runners, or ‘daughter’ plants, which in turn will send out their own runners.
- Roots shouldn’t be longer than 8 inches when plants are set out. Trim them if necessary.
- Make planting holes deep and wide enough to accommodate the entire root system without bending it. However, don’t plant too deep! The roots should be covered, but the crown should be right at the soil surface. It is very important that you do NOT bury the crown (central growing bud) of the plant or it could rot! The leaves, flowers, and fruit must be exposed to light and fresh air.
- Water plants well at the time of planting.
HOW TO GROW STRAWBERRIES
- Keep the beds mulched to reduce water needs and weed invasion. Any type of mulch—from black plastic to pine straw to shredded leaves—will keep the soil moist and the plants clean. Read more about mulching.
- Be diligent about weeding. Weed by hand, especially in the first months after planting.
Moisture is incredibly important due to shallow roots. Water adequately, about one inch per week. Strawberry plants need a lot of water when the runners and flowers are developing and again in the fall when the plants are mature.
- Fertilize with all-purpose granules for strong growth. In warm weather, berries ripen about 30 days after blossoms are fertilized.
- In the first year, pick off blossoms to discourage strawberry plants from fruiting. If not allowed to bear fruit, they will spend their food reserves on developing healthy roots. The yields will be much greater in the second year.
- Eliminate daughter plants as needed. First and second generations produce higher yields. Try to keep daughter plants spaced about 10 inches apart.