Growing strawberries gives you fresh fruit throughout the summer. The plants are small and easily grown in containers, garden beds or hanging baskets. Strawberry plants are a smart choice for beginning gardeners because of their hardy nature. They are adaptable to many different climates and soils. Strawberry plants will last for several years without you having to do much work.
Choose an area of your yard that receives at least eight hours of sun a day, advises Bonnie Plants. Prepare the soil by loosening it with a shovel and adding organic soil conditioner.
Plant when the weather and soil are warm. Dig a hole two times wider than plant's base. Make the hole half the depth of the root ball to allow the upper portion to be exposed 1 1/2 inches above the soil. Place the plant in the hole and fill with soil. Level the dirt and tap gently to remove air pockets. The leaves should be 1 inch above the earth to give the plant the ability to soak up water without drowning the leaves and fruit.
Water the area thoroughly. New strawberry plants require water frequently to establish root growth. Wilting between watering shows the plant needs deep more frequent watering.
Add more soil around the plant base, if necessary, and tap lightly to remove air pockets. Add 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch around the base of the plant to help keep the soil moist and the weeds away.
Fertilize throughout the season for optimal harvest potential. Use a fertilizer recommended for fruit and follow package directions.
Prune the strawberries to determine size, shape and speed of fruit production. Bonnie Plants advises you cut off all dead or faded flowers and branches to promote new growth. This is essential for the plant to have a fruitful harvest.
Watch for flowers. When the flowers appear on the plant, strawberries are on the way. The center of the flower will become the juicy strawberry. Pick when the fruit is red.