The Q&A Archives: Strawberries

Question: What is the best way to get the most from strawberry plants?

Answer: Strawberries grow best in full sunshine, in sandy loam with good drainage. To prepare the bed, spread 3"-4" of compost over the surface of the soil and till it in well. You can add some sand to facilitate drainage and further loosen the soil if necessary. Day-neutral strawberries are extremely productive in your region, so try growing 'Tristar' or 'September Sweet'. Straw is the best mulch for a strawberry bed. It keeps weeds from competing with the plants, helps hold in moisture, and keeps soil from splashing up onto the fruit. As the strawberry plants develop runners you can brush away the straw to allow the runners to root directly in the soil. When the new plants that were produced on the runners are 2-3 years old you can remove and dispose of the old strawberry plants and allow the new little plants to produce your main crop. As they send out runners, allow them to root in the soil. In 2-3 years remove the old plants and allow the new ones to become your main crop. If you continue to do this, you'll renew your strawberry bed, eliminate some potential for insects and diseases, and always have healthy new plants. Best wishes with your strawberries!

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