Saturday, June 11, 2011


Strawberries need three things to grow very well: sunlight, rich soil and excellent drainage.
Strawberries need approximately six to seven hours of sun per day.
Soil that is high in organic matter is absolutely a must. Begin to dig two to three inches of compost into the top few inches of soil.
Strawberries don't like growing in water. They need consistent moisture, but will rot if the site drains poorly. 
Planting Strawberries
Planting strawberries is really easy.. In your prepared bed, dig holes the size of the root ball and plant it with the top of the plant slightly above soil level. Back fill, and water your plants in well. Once your plants are in, mulch the beds with straw, shredded leaves, compost, or pine needles. Pine needles are great because they will raise the acidity level of your soil as they break down.
Watch the plants for first signs of flower buds. If you are growing ever-bearing or day-neutral varieties, remove these first buds to allow the plant to establish itself more before fruit production begins.
A final note on planting: don't plant strawberries in or near an area that is currently growing tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, or eggplant. These plants can harbor verticillium wilt, which can infect strawberry plants.
Strawberry maintenance
Strawberries don't like to sit in water, but they also need fairly consistent water available to them. This is why well-drained soil is so important. Strawberries require one inch of watter per week to produce fruit. They are shallow-rooted, and if the soil dries out too much, fruit production will halt. Mulching, as mentioned above, also helps keep the soil moisture level more consistent.
Strawberries need constant nutrition to maintain fruit yields. Feed your strawberry plants once per month from June to September with blood meal and bone meal.
In addition to the watering and fertilizing, it is important to keep your strawberry patch weed free, especially since weeds will steal moisture and nutrients from your shallow-rooted strawberries very quickly. Keep your berries harvested, and remove any rotting fruit immediately.
Pest and Disease Control 
Happily, strawberries have very few pest problems, but the ones they do have can be a real pain. The biggest pest for any berry grower is that of the feathered variety. Birds like nothing better than to devour fresh berries. They always seem to get to mine right before they're ripe enough to pick. To keep animals away, simply cover the plant or your entire patch with thin plastic.
Also be aware of  slugs and snails. The best thing to do is place copper edging around your bed. Slugs and snails won't cross copper because it creates an electric reaction when it comes into contact with their slime.
Once you have your strawberry plants planted and growing happily, you'll be enjoying the fruits of your labor for years on end, with very little maintenance on your part.

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