By Kathee Mierzejewski & Heather Rhoades
Just about anyone who has bitten into a juicy, sweet strawberry has wondered how to grow a strawberry patch. The idea of having a steady supply of berries from a bed of strawberry plants is tempting and fortunately, growing strawberries is easy and fun. All you need is some growing tips for strawberries and tricks to make sure that your strawberry patch keeps you in a steady supply of yummy berries.
There are three types of strawberry plants: June bearing, which fruits in June; spring bearing, which provides fruit early in the season; and everbearing, which will fruit all summer long.
How to Plant Strawberries
If you want to know when to plant strawberries, you’ll plant them as soon as the ground is workable in the spring, with March or April being best. This gives them ample time to get established before the warm weather.
If you are wondering how to plant strawberries, do it on a cloudy day. This is so that the plants do not wilt while you are planting them and before you get to the point where you can water them. Do not cover the crown of the plant with dirt. Just barely cover the roots. After planting them, make sure you water them. This gives them a great start.
There are different ways to plant your strawberries. First, there is a matted row system. In this system the plants should be set about 18 to 30 inches apart and rows should be about 3 feet apart. This allows the daughters to roam throughout the garden area set aside for strawberries. When taking care of strawberries, leave these daughters alone so they can form. This is best for June and spring bearing plants since the more daughters the better. If you are planting everbearing strawberries, you’ll want to use the hill system. This system doesn’t allow for daughters, and everbearing grows bigger strawberries, which require one main plant.
Growing Tips for Strawberry Plants
Here are some helpful tips to bear in mind when growing strawberry plants:
- Sun – The number one tip on how to grow strawberries is that they need sun. Make sure that the spot you choose for your strawberry plants get plenty of full sun. Many strawberries produce their blossoms in the early spring. Making sure that they are in very sunny spot will help keep late frosts from killing off those blossoms. Plus, the more sun strawberry plants get, the bigger and better the strawberries they produce will be.
- Drainage – Another good tip for how to grow strawberries is to make sure where you plant them has good drainage. If your yard is clay-heavy or does not have good drainage, you’ll want to consider either creating a mound of your strawberry plants to grow on or building a raised bed for your strawberries.
- Compost – Compost is another key to how to grow a strawberry patch that produces big, sweet berries. Make sure that the soil has been fully amended with good compost and composted manure.
- Space – Strawberry plants like to spread out. If you give the strawberry plant runners room, they’ll spread and create more strawberry plants for next year.
- Pinching – I know it can be hard, but with most strawberry plants you will want to pinch the blossoms and strawberry plant runners the first year. This will ensure that your strawberries develop a good root system and will be better able to grow the best strawberry possible.
When the berries on your strawberry plants turn red, you’ll know they are ripe. You can pick them at that time, going out every other day or so to look for new strawberries before the slugs get them.