Answer: Young vigorous plants will produce the best berries, and plants grown in freshly prepared, rich and humusy, moist yet well drained soil will be the most vigorous. For this reason, strawberry plants are usually in their prime for their first one or two bearing years. The planting needs to be renewed periodically either by replanting entirely or by encouraging the first strongest runners from the best plants to become replacements for the original plants, and then removing the "mother" plants. They require an annual fertilziation program and should be kept weeded, watered and mulched; the best time to pick the berries is when they are ripe and come off easily in your hand. (Some berries are deep red at that point, others are still a bright red; this varies per the variety. Average size also varies per variety.) This usually means picking daily. Note too that some varieties are better for fresh eating and others are preferred for either jams and jellies or for freezing and this may affect the sweetness.
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