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How to Grow: Care for Strawberries
Learn how to make a new strawberry bed and care for existing strawberries. It includes information on harvesting and pest control.
Strawberries are a great fresh, garden crop to grow they’re tasty and they don’t take up a lot of space in the garden. You plant them one year and the second year you get a fruit crop. If you take good care of them they can last four to five years. When they start turning red it’s almost time to pick. Wait until the fruits are fully red with no white on the bottom, for the best flavor. To pick them, pinch off the fruit with your fingers or scissors leaving the cap attached. Birds, squirrels and chipmunks also love strawberries. If they’re a problem cover your bed with netting and anchor it down with boards or stakes. After you’re done harvesting, then you need to thin out the beds so the plants aren’t overcrowded. An overcrowded bed is not going to produce a lot of fruit.
In the fall mow down all the foliage and then protect it with some straw in the winter if you’re in a cold area. After about 4 to 5 years your beds will naturally decline and not really produce very well. Then it’s time to start a new bed. I can you show you how to do that.
To make a new strawberry bed you want to make a raised bed about two to three feet wide and as long as you like. Buy certified disease-free plants and plant in a 2:1 – pattern on top of the beds. Each plant spaced about a foot apart from the others. Pinch off any flowers that first year and let them run. Next summer you’ll be harvesting fruits.
Another option is day-neutral varieties. These are varieties that produce strawberries all summer long. They don’t produce a lot of runners like the June bearing types do and they don’t produce fruit all at once. You’ll get a nice consistent supply of fruits. If you have day-neutral varieties like these you can let the flower set after July first and you can get fruits that first fall. Add compost and a balanced organic fertilizer each spring. Weed well, keep well watered and you’ll be eating strawberry shortcakes from your own garden for years.