Advice on Growing Strawberries
I want to plant some strawberries in my garden. This will be the first time I have grown strawberries in my zone 5 garden. Can you give me any advice?
Proper soil preparation is always critical for gardening success. This is even more important when growing perennial plants that live for several years in the same location. Add two to four inches of organic matter to the top 6 to 12 inches of soil. You can also mix in a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer when preparing the soil prior to planting.
Select strawberries suited to your climate. June bearing strawberries produce berries for 2 to 3 weeks in June followed by lots of runners. Sparkle, Honeoye and Kent are June bearing types. Everbearing strawberries such as Ozark Beauty and Ogallala produce a spring, summer and fall crop of fruit and very few runners. The Day-neutral plants such as Tristar and Tribute bear fruit throughout the summer and send out very few runners. The Everbearing and Day-neutral types are good choices for small space gardeners.
Next decide on the growing method. Some gardeners prefer the matted row system. They find it low maintenance and suitable for June bearing strawberries. With this method you will plant the strawberries 14 to 24 inches apart in rows 36 inches apart. Allow the runners to develop creating rows 12 to 15 inches wide. The hill method works well for the Everbearing and Day-Neutral plants. This system allows you to maximize the harvest in a small space. You will create small beds of strawberries by planting three rows 12 inches apart in each bed. Leave 30 to 36 inches between each bed. Remove the runners as soon as they appear. Over time you allow new plants to take over as the older plants decline with age.