How to Grow Everbearing Strawberries
Flavorful and low-maintenance everbearing strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa) offer two main crops of strawberries -- in the late spring and early fall -- with some berry production throughout the summer. Grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 3 through 10, strawberries are hardy perennials that produce fruit when planted in full sun.
Strawberries come in three types: everbearing, day-neutral and June-bearing. While everbearing strawberries produce fruit from spring to fall, June-bearers produce fruits once a year in the summer. Day-neutral strawberries are similar to everbearing strawberries in that they produce fruit all summer; however, while everbearers produce more fruit at the beginning and the end of the season with a few fruits in the middle, day-neutral strawberries produce more consistently throughout the summer.
Planting Everbearing Strawberries
Select an area that receives full sun -- six to eight hours of sunlight a day -- for strawberries. As soon as the soil can be worked in the spring, till the garden space or use a spade to work up the soil and remove all grass and weeds. Add 1 pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet of soil and work into the soil at least 6 inches deep.
Strawberries like loamy soil with pH of 5.8 to 6.5. To make soil more alkaline, add 3 pounds of lime per 100 square feet of soil per point increase. To reduce soil pH, add 1 1/2 pounds of elemental sulfur per 100 square feet of soil per point decrease.
Place strawberries 15 inches apart in three row sections. Leave a 2-foot walkway between each three row section. Make rows long enough to accommodate the desired number of plants with this spacing.
Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball of the strawberry plant and deep enough that the middle of the crown is level with the soil surface. Refill the hole with soil and water deeply. Mulch around plants to prevent weeds.
Do not crowd plants by placing them too close together. This leads to disease and fungal problems.
Water strawberries with 1 inch of water per week through spring, summer and fall. During times of excessive rain, do not water until the surface of the soil is dry.
Fertilize everbearing strawberries once a year with 1 pound of 10-10-10 per 100 square feet beginning after the first harvest in the second season and each following year. Rather than working the fertilizer into the soil, water thoroughly after fertilizing to get the fertilizer to the roots. Primary harvests will be in late spring and early fall, but continue to look for ripe fruits on everbearing varieties throughout summer.
Everbearing strawberries do not produce many runners -- stems protruding from the crown of the plant that produce a baby plant -- but they will produce some during the summer. Pinch off all runners at the point where they emerge from the plant. Pinching runners allows the plant to put all its energy toward fruit production rather than producing new plants.
In areas that experience freezing temperatures over the winter, cover strawberries with straw mulch after the first hard freeze. Keep the plants covered throughout winter. When temperatures begin to warm in the spring, start checking for new growth on strawberry plants. Remove mulch when new leaves start to appear from the center of the crown of the plant.
Expect to replace everbearing strawberries every three years to get the best fruit production.
Tiffany Selvey has been a writer since 2007. A master gardener, she specializes in growing vegetables, herbs and flowers organically. Selvey studied interior design at the University of Arkansas.