Answer: While spring planting is a common practice, fall (October) is the best time to plant strawberries in Austin. These plants will grow slowly during your mild winter and really take off in March. You'll get fruit from March through May and then can remove the plants and use the space for other things. Trying to carry the plants through the long, hot summer can be done, but you'll have to fight insects, mites, diseases, and weeds. Plus, they just don't seem to do as well the second season.
Mix composted organic matter into a raised bed. Cover with black plastic mulch (a drip irrigation tube can be placed down before laying the plastic mulch if you wish). Plastic will help fight weeds, hold moisture and keep down berry and leaf diseases. Plus plastic won't attract pillbugs like leaf mulch will.
Fertilize your plants as you go through the winter and increase feeding in spring for best results. The variety 'Chandler' will be your best bet, although 'Camerosa' and 'Sweet Charlie' are two other good choices.
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