How to Grow Strawberries
**Strawberries are highly productive plants that make a wonderful groundcover in the garden.
**Most types are now very disease resistant. It is a herbaceous perennial. They spread by runners.
**There are a few strawberry varieties:
A) June-bearing or Short-day: forms flower buds in the fall, becomes dormant in the winter, flowers and fruits in the spring. Most widely grown type of strawberry.
B) Day-neutral: yield fruit almost continuously from spring through fall. These are becoming increasingly popular. These strawberries are sensitive to high soil temperatures, so make sure to use a mulch to regulate its’ soil temps. These plants perform best in cooler climates, especially zone 5.
C) Alpine: less well known in America, the fruit is small but very tasty. These do not spread by runners and will bear fruit from spring to fall like the day-neutral ones.
**Due to new varieties that arrive every year, it is best to talk to local plant experts for advice that pertains to your particular neighborhood.**
**Select the site for your strawberry bed 1 year in advance.
**Do not plant strawberries where potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, or raspberries have been planted for the past 5 years because they might have carried a certain organism that is a serious problem for the health of your strawberries.
**Strawberries require full sun and good soil and air drainage.
**A gentle slope improves air drainage for the flower buds, but too steep of a slope will make it difficult to harvest and promote possible soil erosion.
**These plants will grow in a wide range of soil types from sand to heavy loam and are not very sensitive to pH levels.
**If you do not have enough land to grow strawberries, you could always grow them in something like this.
**Keep strawberry plants in a shady area or refrigerator until planting.
**Place the roots in water for a half hour before planting. Do not allow the roots to dry out.
**Strawberries are best planted in April, it is not recommended to plant them after June.
**Clear the soil of grubs before planting.
**Due to their shallow root system, they are sensitive to water, both too much and too little is bad for the plant.
**Avoid over-watering because it produces bland-tasting berries.
**To avoid stress on a new plant, remove the flower buds in the first spring until July (this allows the plant to focus on establishing its’ roots).
**Mulch over the plants for the winter to protect them from the cold/frost/varied soil temperatures.
**Remove the mulch from the tops of the plants in early spring after the danger of frost is past.
**Make sure to constantly weed (or weeds will harm the root system).
**After a harvest is complete, clean up involves removing the mother plants when they are 3-4 years old, thinning the plants, and giving the plants a healthy covering of compost.
**Strawberry flower buds and fruit as susceptible to frost, so protect them during frost dangers!
**Berries should be harvested every 2 to 3 days.
**Pick the berries when they are fully colored and pick them in the morning after the plants have dried.
**Keep the picked berries out of direct sunlight and preferably in a refrigerator.