Strawberries are warm-season crops planted, grown and harvested in spring and summer between seasonal frosts. USDA Hardiness Zone 8 stretches from portions of Florida and Georgia in the east west to Texas and California. In this zone, annual temperatures never dip below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, even in the depths of winter, and spring and fall are relatively warm. Zone 8 provides a longer growing season for strawberries than most other regions of the United States, translating to larger hauls of juicy berries with every planting.
Prepare to plant your strawberry crowns after the last threat of frost has passed in your area. This can be as soon as late February or early March in some zone 8 regions.
Till the soil in a bed with full sun exposure where no strawberries or potatoes have previously been planted for at least three years. Remove all weeds, roots, rocks and soil clods to leave a loose, friable soil.
Ensure a fertile, well-drained soil with an acidic pH level between 5.5 and 6.5. Amend the soil as needed with acidifying or alkaline agents to achieve this. Add several pounds of compost and/or well aged manure to every few feet of planting area where the soil is nutritionally deficient. Add several pounds of shredded pine bark and compost to improve the drainage in heavy or clay soils.
Prepare the strawberry crowns for planting by snipping off any dead leaves and soaking the crowns in tepid water for an hour. Sprouted plants purchased from the nursery do not require soaking, but water them if the soil is not very moist.
Nestle each plant in the prepared soil so the crown of the plant rests just level with the surface of the surrounding soil but is not covered by the soil. Tamp the soil around the roots. Space plants at 12 to 24 inches apart in rows 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the cultivar. Everbearing cultivars need more space to spread than June-bearing cultivars.
Water the plants right after planting and feed with a weak solution of complete fertilizer diluted in water. Mix up to 3 tbsp. of 5-10-5 or 10-10-10 fertilizer with 1 gallon of water and give up to 2 cups of the solution to each strawberry crown or established plant.
Things You Will Need
- Rake, shovel or cultivator
- Acidifying or alkaline soil amendments
- Aged manure
- Coarse pine bark
- 5-10-5 or 10-10-10 fertilizer
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