How to Grow Strawberries

Take these steps to insure success with your strawberry plants.

  Albion Strawberry
   
If you have received bare root strawberry plants, they are ready to plant upon arrival. If you cannot get to this right away, they can be kept in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator for up to one week. Keep the bag closed to retain moisture, but do not fully seal. A little air is needed to keep the roots healthy.

Prepare your bed before planting by clearing it of weeds. Mix a dry, balanced fertilizer into the soil. Use a fertilizer that contains blood meal, bone meal and kelp meal or similar organic ingredients for best results. Strawberries also like well-drained soil. This quality can be enhanced by liberal use of compost or manure.

Plant your seedlings 12-18" apart with 3-4' between rows. Choose a location that is sunny. Strawberries need at least six hours of direct sun per day.

Do not spread the roots when you plant. Keep the strawberry plant at the same height relative to the soil as it is in the container in which you received it, i.e., keep the crown just above the soil surface. If you received bare root plants, do not allow the crown to be covered by soil. Plant so the soil reaches the base of the crown.

Water new transplants with a liquid fertilizer high in nitrogen, such as sea mix or fish emulsion.

Maintain soil moisture during the growing season. A layer of mulch will help keep the soil cool, moist and control weeds. Do not use black plastic as mulch for strawberries. It will cause the soil to overheat. Strawberries prefer cool soil.

Fertilize your strawberry plants in August and September to prepare them for winter.

Cover your bed with straw to protect the plants from the winter cold. Remove the mulch in the spring before new growth begins.

Many strawberry plants produce runners. Each runner is a new plant, sometimes referred to as a daughter (the main plant is called the mother plant). You may cut and keep the runners, transplanting them into your rows to multiply your strawberry collection. If you do not need or have the space for new plants, cut and remove the runners so the plant can devote its full energy to fruit production, not new plant production. Strawberry plants produce well for 3-5 years, after which they should be replaced. The daughter plants can be used to restore and revitalize a tired strawberry bed.


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