Who doesn't like a big bowl of fresh strawberries? They are one of the easiest fruit to grow, and if conditions are ideal, one plant can produce at least one quart (one liter) of berries in a season. If you order strawberry crowns, you probably received something looking like this:
So, now that you have your strawberry crowns, how do you plant them? Well, first you need to make sure their new home is ready. Plan to plant your crowns after all danger of freezing is past and the soil can be worked, but not waterlogged. Strawberries are big eaters, and love lots of nitrogen. If you have poor soil, add compost or manure to add nutrients. Also, don't plant where potatoes, tomatoes, peppers or eggplant have grown the last three years (there is a risk of Verticillium Rot). For those of you who want the nitty gritty details, the soil should be a sandy loam with a pH between 5.8 and 6.2. They also benefit from a raised bed, but that doesn't mean you have to go out and buy lumber and nails. Here is what we did:
As you can see, we just piled up the soil and raked it flat. Hills also work well. They need lots of sunshine, too, so plan your strawberry patch in a sunny spot.
Plan to plant your strawberries about 18 inches (40cm) apart, with rows about 3 feet (1 meter) apart. Place the crowns approximately where they need to go (on top of the soil) and dig a hole. Place the roots in the hole, with most of them going straight down to the bottom the hole. Sometimes you'll get roots that are very long--they don't need to be completely straight, but mostly straight. You don't want to plant a root ball or have them going to one side.
As you fill the soil back in the hole, be sure the crown doesn't get covered. The crown is the little "knob" of green right at the beginning of the roots. These will grow to become leaves, and it's important that they be above the soil level.
My favorite variety of strawberry is SeaScape. They produce big, sweet berries from June til September!
|(I used the board so I wouldn't stomp the soil)|