Planting strawberries is a joy. As soon as the snow melts, I get eager to put on my gardening gloves. I love gardening, and I can't wait to get started on the next crop of flowers and food.
If you're like me, you might be tempted to rush out to the nursery to bring home a truck full of new plants. If you plan on including strawberry plants on your shopping list, though, make sure your timing is right. Like most plants, there is a best time to plant strawberries.
If you are starting a new garden in an area that was once covered in grass, wait a year or two before planting strawberries. Strawberries won't do well in areas that have a lot of weeds, and cultivating the ground for a season or two will help reduce weeds in the garden. Also, newly tilled ground can contain white grubs that can destroy your plants.
In warm or tropical climates, fall is the best time to plant strawberries. Your plants will have plenty of time to get established in the garden, and should produce a good crop the following spring.
If you live in climates where the ground freezes during the winter, then early spring is the best time to plant strawberries. Pinch off all or most of the flowers during the first year, to give your plants time to adjust to your garden, and you should have a great season the following year. If you don't want to wait a year, you can plant strawberries in the late summer and enjoy your fruit next spring.
Most people feel like cloudy days when the ground is moist but not soggy is the best time to plant strawberries. Late afternoon is also a good time, so the sun won't burn your plants before they settle in.
Because they are perennial, strawberry plants are hardy enough to last even if you don't plant them at exactly the best time. If you plant too early, too late, or in the wrong weather, chances are your strawberries will still be fine. Your yield might be lower than you expected during the first year, but as long as you take good care of your plants, they'll produce well during the next season.