Encourage a healthy harvest of fresh strawberries.
image by Rita Juliana: sxc.hu
Sweet, red strawberries are an attractive, edible option in the garden and as a landscaping plant. Children are drawn to strawberry patches in hopes of finding that first juicy berry. There's a lot to do between planting and harvesting to ensure that your strawberry crop is as abundant and tasty as possible. The original plants you put in the garden are referred to as mothers. These strawberries send out runners and form new plants referred to as daughters. Tend these properly for a high-yield patch.
Weed the strawberry patch a minimum of once a week. Pull and dispose of new weeds as soon as you notice them.
Water strawberries two to three times a week for a maximum of 2 inches of water weekly.
Pinch off blossoms the first year your strawberries are planted to encourage healthy root and runner growth. Pinch them off just below where the flower connects to the stem. Expect your first berry harvest the second year.
Check for daughter plants by the sixth week. Follow the runners from the mother to the first daughter and clip off any second or third daughters that are on the same runner.
Allow five daughters on five separate runners per mother plant to remain in the patch. Clip off any excess runners and daughters.
Move the daughter away from the mother and weigh down the runner between them with soil or small rocks. Space each of the five daughters 9 inches apart.
Renovate your strawberry patch after harvest for June-bearing varieties. Mow the leaves from the strawberries, leaving the crown -- the part of the plant that emerges above ground from the root --- intact.
Fertilize after harvest with a general purpose fertilizer.