Strawberries are a favorite summer fruit, especially for kids. Grow your own plump, juicy strawberries by following these simple steps.
- Step 1: Decide which type of strawberry to grow. June-bearers produce fruit once in early summer. Ever-bearing and day-neutral varieties produce throughout the summer and into the fall.
- TIP: Ever-bearing and day-neutral varieties are the best choice for small gardens.
- Step 2: Find a sunny spot with good drainage. Strawberries should be in direct sunlight at least six hours each day.
- TIP: Alpine strawberries will grow in less sunny locations. You can order them from a nursery.
- Step 3: Grow June-bearing varieties 18 to 30 inches apart in rows 3 to 4 feet apart. Plant ever-bearing and day-neutral varieties about a foot apart in rows 2 feet apart.
- Step 4: Prepare your strawberry patch as soon as you can work the soil in the spring. Strawberries like deep, loose, well-drained soil. Mix in compost and 10-10-10 fertilizer.
- Step 5: Plant strawberries on a cloudy day or late in the afternoon. Plant the plants so that the tops of the roots are just covered, but no deeper.
- TIP: Do not plant strawberries near tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, or potatoes. These plants are often infected with a fungus that kills strawberries.
- Step 6: Water your berries well, about 1 inch per week. Weed for three weeks; then mulch. Remove all flowers as soon as they appear through the end of June to spur runner and root growth.
- Step 7: Begin harvesting ever-bearing and day-neutral varieties in mid-summer. You'll have to wait until the second year to harvest June-bearers.
- FACT: One cup of strawberries provides one and a half times the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.