Strawberry plants are vigorous perennials that are easy to grow, require little fertilization, and take up a relatively small area of garden space for the amount fruit they produce. A tasty summertime treat rich in vitamin C, sweet deep-red strawberries can be eaten right out of the garden or used for making countless desserts, as well as a variety of homemade jams or jellies. Planting strawberries in Tennessee is not a difficult process, and with a little care your plants will produce plenty of delicious fruit for you and your family to enjoy.
Select a planting location in early spring. Strawberry plants require at least 7 to 8 hours of full daily sunlight and well-drained soil to grow well and produce the greatest amount of fruit.
Test the soil. Strawberry plants require a slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5.8 to 6.5. If the pH of your soil is unknown, take a sample of soil from the selected planting location to your local extension office for pH testing.
Purchase strawberry plants and any recommended nutrients needed to adjust the pH of your soil from a local nursery or home-and-garden center. Specialty strawberry cultivars such as "Ozark Beauty," "Earliglow," "Quinault" and "Allstar" are available for purchase by mail order or online, and are suitable for growing in Tennessee because they are resistant to frost and local diseases. Any other varieties selected should be suitable for growing in USDA hardiness zones 6a, 6b, 7a and 7b, which cover the state of Tennessee.
Break up the soil in the selected planting location with a garden tiller. After removing weeds and unwanted debris from the area, add nutrients to the soil if required.
Water the strawberry plants in their containers well several minutes before planting.
Create mounded rows, set 36 to 40 inches apart, with a garden hoe. Dig holes with a handheld spade for each strawberry plant twice as large as the rootball, then place the plant in the hole and cover with soil to the original planting depth. Place June-bearing strawberry cultivars 12 to 24 inches apart and day-neutral or ever-bearing varieties 8 to 12 inches apart for optimum growth.
Water the strawberry plants liberally until soil is thoroughly wet but not muddy.
Things You Will Need
- Strawberry plants
- Garden tiller
- Garden hoe
- Handheld garden spade
- Strawberries are typically safely planted in Tennessee after April 15, when the danger of frost has passed. In case of unseasonable frost or freezing temperatures, cover young strawberry plants with a light cloth at dusk, then remove early the next morning when temperatures moderate.
- Adding a 1 to 2 inch layer of organic mulch to the soil around the strawberries helps the plants maintain moisture and control weed growth in the area.
- Failure to renovate, or weed out, old strawberry plants suppresses next generation growth that produces new fruit. Renovate your strawberry garden every year, 4 to 6 weeks after harvest.
- Strawberry plants have shallow roots and do not tolerate drought well. Plants need 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water each week, through rain or irrigation, during the hot summer months.