NOTHINGS SAYS SUmMER AS WELL…
Strawberries are perennial fruits which grow best in a well-drained, loamy soil in full sun. Avoid areas where water stands, to reduce the chance of disease. There are two types of strawberries: June-Bearing and Ever-Bearing.
June-Bearing: These varieties yield their fruit over a period of approximately 2-4 weeks, from late May through late June. They are usually planted in the spring, and the blossoms are removed the first year to allow them to become established and set runners. They will bear heavily the second year and will continue for up to 7 years if the bed is properly maintained. Within the category of June-bearing varieties, there are early, midseason, and late choices (which can extend the season for 2-4 more weeks).
Ever-Bearing: These varieties yield fruit from June through frost, but never bear as heavily as June-Bearing varieties. Newer Ever-Bearing varieties (such as Tribute) are day neutral, which means they do not depend on lengthening days to set fruit. A well-maintained Ever-Bearing plant will produce nearly as many fruit as a June-Bearer, over a much longer period of time. The early blossoms should be removed, but midseason blooms can be allowed to mature into fruit the first year.
Planting: Space rows 4 feet apart, and space June-Bearing varieties 1 foot apart within the row. Space Ever-Bearers 6” apart (they do not send out as many runners as June-Bearers). Do not fertilize at planting time; roots are sensitive to burning. Planting in a raised bed will help drainage and discourage disease.
Plant roots so that soil is pressed firmly against them, with the crown of the plant at the surface and no roots showing. Proper planting depth is important! If roots are too long, trim them to 6”; don’t double them up. Water plants well after transplanting.
Mulching: Mulch is necessary to protect the plants in the winter. It keeps the temperature stable so the crowns are not damaged by sudden cold snaps. It also conserves moisture and keeps fruit cleaner, reducing the chance for disease. A winter straw mulch can be raked off the plants and used for weed control in the aisles during the growing season.
Water/Fertilizer: Plants should receive 1” of water per week throughout the growing season. Adequate moisture in August and September will assure good bud formation for the following year. Feed with a high phosphorus (the middle number of N-P-K label) fertilizer.
Cultivation: Keep beds cultivated to discourage weeds. Space runners as they appear, until bed is adequately filled. Remove late-forming runners (September). Overcrowding will reduce fruit size and encourage disease.