Sweet, succulent strawberries add an extra dimension to your garden. Many fruits aren't well suited to home gardens but strawberries fill the gap they leave. They can be grown in pots or small beds, making them suitable for both traditional gardens and small container gardens. Growing strawberries isn't difficult, though they do require specific practices in order to thrive and produce abundant fruits. There is a variety available for most growing climates and choosing a variety suited to your area helps minimize the maintenance required.
Perform a soil test the fall before starting your strawberry bed. Raise the pH to a range of 5.5 to 6.5 by adding dolomitic lime to the bed at the amounts recommended by the test.
Till the soil to a 10-inch depth using a hoe or power tiller. In containers use a light potting mix consisting of pne part compost, one part peat moss and one part vermiculite. Substitute a quality commercial mix if desired.
Apply fertilizer three weeks before setting new plants in the bed. Apply four pounds of a balanced fertilizer per every 100 feet of row.
Plant strawberry plants in the ground so the crown of the plant is even with the soil surface. Space plants 1.5 feet apart in rows or eight inches apart in containers. Plant both dormant roots and live plants after all danger of frost has passed in spring.
Pinch off any blossoms that open the first year so the plant can focus on developing runners and a strong root system. Wait until the second year before encouraging blossoming and berry production.
Water the beds regularly. Supply approximately two inches of water per week during a single deep watering. Water more frequently during extended hot and dry periods.
Cut the plants down to the crown in fall starting the second year. Remove the cut-down foliage from the bed. Remove any less vigorous plants and thin out any plants that are crowding each other to maintain a healthy distance between each plant.
Weed the bed regularly by hand, taking care not to disturb the roots of the strawberry plants. Cultivate the top of the soil with a hand-held cultivator to prevent new weeds from rooting.