Choosing a Site

A deep, rich, well drained, sandy loam is ideal for strawberry production. A slight to medium acid soil is best. Due to strawberries’ high water requirements, the soil needs to have plenty of organic matter to help hold moisture for growing plants. It is wise to amend the soil with compost prior to planting.

Planting Strawberries

It is important to plant as early as possible in the spring. Snow or light frosts will not hurt the plants. Plants should be planted in rows 12-18 inches wide. Plants should be planted 12-18 inches apart. Set plants with roots straight down. Care should be taken so that the plants are set with the crowns level with the top of the ground. This is very important to the strawberry’s survival and overall health. Throughout the season, avoid covering either old or new crowns with soil while hoeing, weeding, or cultivating. Be sure to water the plants well after planting.

Maintaining Strawberry Plant Health

To keep your plants healthy and productive over the years, follow these few steps:

  1. As soon as harvest is complete, mow off the leaves using your lawn mower set at the highest setting
  2. Rototill to narrow row width to 12-18 inches. Remove excess plants to leave 3-5 inches around each plant
  3. Fertilize with a well balanced, slow release, all purpose fertilizer (4-4-4)
  4. Maintain adequate moisture throughout the growing season.
  5. Mulch in November when plants start to go dormant. This will help with fluctuating temperatures.

Harvesting

Berries will be bright red, slightly firm, and juicy when ripe. The berries will also have a natural shine. Strawberries should be picked at their prime – they do not ripen after picking.

A lifelong Oregon resident, Drake has been passionate about plants since childhood, beginning with propagating and growing flowers at his grandfather’s nursery. He opened Drake’s 7 Dees in 1974, while earning degrees in Business and Horticulture from Oregon State University. He later expanded into the design/build side of the industry, allowing him to combine his passion for plants with his love of family by maximizing the quality of family time spent outdoors.

Drake is co-founder of the Oregon Landscape Contractors Association and is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager (LICM)—a designation that less than two percent of landscapers have attained. Additionally, Drake serves on the Board of Directors for the Portland Japanese Gardens, widely regarded as one of the seven best Japanese gardens outside of Japan.

Drake is married to former Oregon Speaker of the House, Lynn Snodgrass. Together, he and Lynn received the Farm Bureau President’s award in 1999 for their service and dedication to agriculture in the state of Oregon. Drake and Lynn have two wonderful daughters, two talented son-in-laws, and seven grandchildren. In his spare time, Drake enjoys camping, water and snow skiing, reading, and of course, gardening.