How to Feed Strawberry Plants
Strawberry plants are easy to grow and do well in a variety of soils. There are three main categories--June bearing, everbearing and day neutral. June bearing plants produce the fruit in June, everbearing have two or three harvests annually and day neutral strawberries produce fruit throughout the growing season. Feed strawberry plants to maintain the fertility of the soil and promote the best fruit production and plant growth.
Buy a fertilizer with a 10-10-10 ratio. That tells you the ratio between nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen develops leaves and gives the plants a strong green color, phosphorous helps roots grow and potassium encourages disease resistance.
Consider using a slow release fertilizer when you plant the strawberries, so the plants are fed through the season.
Use one half to one lb. of fertilizer per 100 square feet of planting bed. Spread it uniformly through the bed and work it in around strawberry plants using a garden hoe. Apply the fertilizer every ten days from flowering until harvest.
Mulch strawberries to protect them in the winter. They are susceptible to the freezing and thawing that occur. Mulch helps insulate the plants, keeping warm air in the soil.
Lay down mulch such as wood chips, oat straw, wheat or salt hay in mid to late November. Avoid using leaves because they become matted down and can smother the strawberries.
Spread 14 to 16 pounds of mulch per 100 square feet of strawberry plants. The goal is to have a two inch thick cover.
Remove the mulch from the plant crowns with a rake or by hand in the spring. Wait until there is new growth because lifting it up too early will make the plant more susceptible to frost damage.
Feed Everbearing Strawberry Plants
Mix 1 pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer into every 100 square feet of soil a few days before planting. Use your hands to work the fertilizer into the soil so that it penetrates at least 6 inches below the surface. Wait until late summer to apply more fertilizer to the soil. Fortunately, everbearing strawberries are relatively easy to care for, and young plants can go an entire season without needing additional fertilizer. Spread the fertilizer around the plants and in between each row. Fertilize established plants three times per season to ensure two successful harvests.
Wear gloves when spreading mulch or fertilizer.
- Wear gloves when spreading mulch or fertilizer.
- Garden hoe
- The Tasteful Garden
- University of Illinois Extension: Growing Strawberries
- Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs: Strawberries for Home Gardens
- Oregon State University Extension: Growing Strawberries
- Oregon State University Extension: Growing Strawberries in Your Home Garden