Growing strawberries can be a truly rewarding endeavor. These berries are a summertime favorite, and they can be used in salads, dressings, desserts, and more. To grow the best ones, you’ll want to pay attention to these tips from Garden & Greenhouse:
Strawberries thrive in a wide range of soils from heavy clay to light sand. They should be planted in an open area where they can receive sunshine throughout the day. Most strawberry beds will produce for 2-3 years.
Before planting thoroughly cultivate a bed to remove any perennial weeds and add manure to improve yields. Place a strawberry plant every 12-14 inches in rows that are 30 inches apart and water them thoroughly.
Hoe between the individual strawberry plants and the rows on a regular basis to prevent weeds.
Mulching the strawberry bed helps retain moisture and prevents weeds. Straw mulch is the best choice because it also helps prevent the strawberries from rotting if they are lying on the ground.
Growing in Baskets
Strawberries can be grown in baskets to protect them from slugs. Five or six plants can easily survive in a single basket, as long as they are watered each day during the growing season. Supplement these strawberries with high potassium fertilize starting right before flowering and up to harvest. Strawberry plants in a basket will produce crops for consecutive years but they will not be as productive in the second year. It is best to consider them as an annual crop and renew them each year.
Strawberries can rot quickly so pick them as soon as they are ready. Punctual harvesting also reduces the chances of attracting pests and diseases. Make sure to leave the green stalk on the strawberry plant when the fruit is harvested.
After Harvest Care
Remove the straw mulch after harvest then remove all but the new leaves. Removing the old leaves allows more sunlight to reach the center of the plant which enhances yields during the next year.