Growing perennial strawberry plants is a common summer project among many gardeners. Once a suitably sunny location with proper drainage is found, place the strawberry plants in the soil and begin nurturing them toward a bountiful harvest. Every bit of effort put into growing perennial strawberry plants will be evident in the plump and juicy berries harvested in the middle of summer.
Prepare a sunny growing area in the spring by working the soil to a depth of 1 foot with a garden spade. Add 6 inches of rich compost and thoroughly work it into the soil with a garden spade. Add 2 lbs. of granular fertilizer for every 100 square feet of planting area to the top of the soil and work it into the soil.
Dig holes for the strawberry plants that are 18 to 24 inches apart along rows that are approximately 4 feet apart. Place each strawberry plant into a prepared hole so that top of the crown is just above the soil level. Spread the roots out in the hole. Fill in tightly around the roots with soil so that all of the roots are contacting the earth.
Water the strawberry plants if less than 1 inch of rain falls within a one-week period. When supplementing natural rainfall is necessary, do it twice weekly and saturate the soil.
Pull weeds as they appear around the strawberry plants. Strawberry plants have shallow root systems, so carefully remove any weeds by hand. Do not allow weeds to grow and take hold around the strawberry plants.
Fertilize the strawberry plants again by adding 1 lb. of fertilizer for every 100 square feet of growing area approximately one month after planting.
Examine the plants during the first growing season and remove all of the blossoms that appear. This is necessary to give the plants time to grow large and strong without putting energy into fruit formation.
Apply straw mulch around the plants in the fall when they stop growing and when the weather has turned cold. Apply 3 inches of straw to cover the strawberry plants completely. Water the mulch to weigh it down and prevent it from blowing away.
Remove the straw mulch in the spring when new leaves form but not before spring temperatures may fall below 30 degrees F. Pull the mulch away from the tops of the plants and leave it in the rows between the strawberry plants. Leave about ½-inch of straw over the plants for protection. Do not fertilize the strawberry plants in the spring.
Prepare the strawberry plants for the winter after harvest by removing the straw and cutting down the strawberry plants to just above the soil level. Fertilize the area by adding 4 lbs. of fertilizer for every 100 square feet of growing area. Work the fertilizer into the soil. Mulch the area as before.
Things You Will Need
- Garden spade
- Granular fertilizer (10-10-10)
- Straw mulch
- Harvest strawberries daily when they begin to appear. Pull each berry from the plants by pinching off the stems and leaving the tops of the berries intact on the berries. Leave the hulls intact and place the strawberries into the refrigerator. Do not wash or hull them until you are ready to use them. Fresh strawberries will stay fresh in the refrigerator for two to three days.
- Choose a growing area where tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, potatoes and raspberries have not grown in the last three years to avoid a fungal disease that affects strawberry plants.