Here are a few tips that will get your strawberry plants off to the best possible start.
Strawberry plants grow best in well drained soil that has been amended with organic matter. Strawberries should not be planted in or near soil where eggplants, peppers, potatoes, raspberries, or tomatoes have grown over the past 3 to 5 years because strawberries are susceptible to verticillium wilt. It is also advisable to move strawberry beds whenever verticillium wilt appears. Soils with high lime content may be unsuitable for this plant. Strawberries need to be protected from freezing during the winter months. In addition to mulching them, planting strawberry plants at the top of a gentle slope helps minimize winter kill and frost damage to blossoms.
Plant strawberry plants in rows or hills in areas that receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Plant the plants 15 to 18 inches apart in rows spaced about 2 feet apart. When planting bare root strawberries, be sure to trim the roots to six inches long. Dig holes deep enough to accommodate the roots. Inside the hole, mound enough dirt to be able to have the plant sit on the mound with the roots spread evenly around. The base of the crown should sit at the soil level. If the crown is set too high above the ground, the plant will dry out. Smooth and water to settle the soil. If the plants experience a drought immediately after planting, it may stunt the growth of the plants. Inspect after frost to see if any plants were lifted out of the soil. If they were, gently push them back into the soil and cover.
Once plants have begun to leaf out, fertilize can be applied. A balanced 10-10-10 blend can be added according to directions on the label. When the plant begins to form blooms until harvest is complete, is the time period that the plants will need the most water. One to two inches of supplemental watering a week may be necessary to keep the plants hydrated. Check the soil for dampness if in doubt.
Their first growing year in the ground, pinch off any blooms. This will force more growth into the plants size, creating larger plants with the potential for more blooms producing more fruit the next growing season.
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