The strawberry plant is a rapidly growing fruit shrub that is relatively easy to grow. These sun-loving plants thrive in well-drained, elevated areas with nutrient-rich soils. Producing most of its fruit within its first few years, one strawberry plant produces an average of one quart of strawberries each year.
Irrigate the strawberry field frequently, providing about 1 inch of water during each application. Maintain a moist but well-drained environment and avoid overwatering the field.
Maintain a strawberry field that is free of debris and weed growth. Hand-pull the weeds from the area as they appear, ensuring that the weed's root system is pulled in its entirety. Keep strawberry rows at least 18 inches apart.
Feed the strawberry field with a well-balanced, slow-release fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 combination. Distribute the fertilizer evenly throughout the rows. Irrigate the fertilizer thoroughly into the soil.
Protect the soil's moisture levels with a very fine layer of organic mulch. Apply a half-inch to 1 inch of mulch around the roots of the strawberries so that new plant growth can still emerge. Increase the mulch to 2 inches during the winter months to provide protection from the cold temperatures.
Inspect the strawberry field regularly for signs of insect infestation. Treat insect infestations with an application of insecticide designed for strawberry and fruit shrub care. These are milder and will cause less damage to the plant than other insecticides.
Examine the field regularly for signs of disease. Look for adverse health signs such as fungal growth, mildew, wilting, dieback and growth stunt. Speak with a horticultural or nursery specialist for assistance in diagnosing the potential disease. Treat the disease immediately to prevent spread and plant injury.
Check the strawberries for ripeness before harvesting. Pick a strawberry and after washing, taste it for flavor and sweetness. Harvest the ripe strawberries continuously until all the strawberries have been removed. This may take several days to a week.