Strawberries are one of the most popular fruits grown in home gardens. They’re easy to grow but they require special care after their June crop of berries. A planting of strawberries will be productive for three to four years if you renovate it every year in July.
Prepare the soil in early to mid-spring. Add compost and peat moss by spreading about an inch of compost and 2 inches of peat moss on the surface of the soil. Add approximately one pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer for each 100 square feet of garden bed. Use a shovel to turn the soil over, incorporating the compost, peat moss and fertilizer. Rake the surface smooth.
Plant strawberries at the correct depth and spacing. Space the plants 18 to 30 inches apart in rows that are 3 to 4 feet apart. Dig a shallow hole and insert the roots of the plant. Set the plants so the crown is just above the soil line. The crown is where new growth emerges.
Mulch the areas around the plants and the rows between them with 4 to 6 inches of hay or straw.
Water well. Set out a sprinkler or soaker hose and water the plants with the equivalent of 1 inch of rainfall. Throughout the growing season, water as needed so the plants receive the equivalent of 1 to 2 inches of rainfall per week.
Pinch off all blossoms during the first year of growth. This will encourage the plants to put out a lot of leafy growth and increase fruit yields the following year. It also encourages runners, which are baby plants that grow at the end of elongated stems from the mother plants.
Mulch the plants with 4 to 6 inches of hay or straw in fall before frost.
Remove the mulch in early spring when the leaves begin to green up and active growth begins.
Renovate the strawberry patch in midsummer after it finishes producing berries. Mow the tops of the plants off with a lawn mower set at about 3 inches high. Make the row narrower by using a garden shovel or spade. Drive the spade into the soil, leaving all plants and runners in a 2-foot-wide row. Remove any plants growing outside of the 2-foot-wide area.
Fertilize the strawberry bed when the plants stop producing in July and after you have renovated the bed according to Step 8. Use 1 pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet of strawberry patch.