Strawberries are a gardeners' delight--adding sweetness to cakes, ice cream, salads and jams--and are equally delightful eaten fresh off the plant. Strawberries grow very well throughout Louisiana. Southern Louisiana falls in USDA hardiness zones 9a and 9b; gardeners there must choose strawberry cultivars that perform in this environment. Louisiana State University recommends Tangi, Chandler and Camarosa for zone 9 gardeners.
Purchase strawberry transplants, choosing a recommended variety or another variety that performs in zone 9. Louisiana State University recommends planting strawberries from October to December.
Choose a full sun location. Strawberries perform best if planted in a raised bed, since this type of bed allows the soil to drain. Louisiana growers typically use raised beds for all planting, so if you have a raised garden bed, you can plant strawberries in the bed. If you don't have a raised bed, plant a container garden or a hanging basket of strawberries.
Turn the soil over in the bed using a trowel. Loosen any compacted clumps of soil and remove any weeds or rocks you encounter. Add 2 to 4 inches of manure or compose in an even layer across the bed. Mix the manure or compost into the bed by turning the soil over with a shovel or trowel.
Dig a hole for your strawberry plant that's twice as large as the plant's root ball. Then remove your strawberry transplant from its container. Lightly massage the root ball with your fingers to break it apart. Place the plant in the hole and spread its roots out with your fingers.
Cover over the strawberries with dirt. Water the area until the ground becomes saturated with water.
Layer pine straw or mulch over the dirt around the base of the strawberries until you cannot see ground. If the fruit comes into contact with wet soil, it can rot; mulching prevents this from happening.
Water the plants throughout the winter and spring whenever the soil becomes dry to the touch, always watering until the soil is saturated. If you encounter a rare winter freeze, protect the strawberry plants by covering them with pine straw or plastic. Southern Louisiana gardeners should see strawberry blossoms beginning in January and February and will enjoy fruit starting in March.
Things You Will Need
- Strawberry transplants
- Pine straw
- Space strawberry plants 12 inches apart, and leave at least 10 inches between rows of strawberry plants.
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