It's easy to plant strawberries. The first year I grew my favorite fruit, I just put the plants in the ground, watered them, and walked away. We enjoyed eating the berries that summer, and we even got a few more berries the next year.
As I gained experience with planting strawberries, I learned a few tricks.
Give your plants time to get established
If you allow your plants to grow fruit during the first season, they will. The plants will work so hard to grow berries, though, that they will miss out on an important stage of root and runner development. If you give your new strawberry plants time to develop a healthy root system, you'll have a better crop the next year, and your plants will last longer. For June-bearing strawberries, pinch off at least six out of every seven blossoms during the first season. For everbearing and day-neutral strawberries, remove the blossoms until late June. It's hard to pinch off flowers that you know could grow into yummy strawberries, but you'll reap the benefits eventually.
Renovate your patch yearly
One of the most important growing strawberries tips is to do some yearly maintenance on your strawberry patch. In early fall, spend a day or two working toward a good next harvest. First, remove any four-year-old plants. They won't produce as well, and you can use the space to plant some of next spring's runners. Mow the foliage to about an inch, raking the cuttings into the soil. Finally, fertilize your strawberry patch with a 10-10-10 fertilizer.
Protect your plants from freezing
If you live in an area where temperatures often dip below zero during the winter, you'll want to put a winter coat on your strawberry plants. Cover your plants with a three- to four-inch cover of straw mulch to protect their roots and crowns. Remove the mulch during the early spring, but cover the plants back up if frost is in the weather report.
Strawberry plants will grow strawberries in almost any conditions. If you pay attention to these growing strawberries tips, though, you'll be able to grow more and better strawberries, year after year.
Buy only certified plants
This might be the most important growing strawberries tip of all: buy only high quality, certified strawberry plants. They will cost a bit more, but you'll enjoy them much more. There won't be unplesant surprises such as diseases and usually the plants will yield more.
A good place to buy a wide choice of certified strawberry plants is Gurneys. All their plants (and their customer service) are excellent.
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