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