Strawberry Growing and Care Instructions
Strawberries are sent to you dormant. They have been in cold storage and will begin to grow in 5 - 6 days after you plant if your weather is warm enough. If you can not plant right away, place unopened bag in refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Strawberry plants will produce good crops for 3 - 5 years. June bearing varieties planted early in the season will only bear a few berries the 1st year. Summer bearing varieties will have produced more than ever bearing varieties during the first year of planting. In later years, June bearing and summer bearing varieties will out bear ever bearing varieties - usually yielding twice the volume of ever bearing varieties. 100 plants should provide enough berries for a family of 4, including enough to freeze, jams and jellies. Strawberries prefer a rich, organic soil with a pH of 5.8 - 6.5.
PLANTING: Set crowns slightly above soil surface so that you can add mulch later after dormant plants are actively growing. Plant on an over cast day or in late afternoon. Dig hole and spread out roots pointing straight down. Chose a site that has a small slope and has good draining soil. Raised beds are also ideal. Water abundantly when planting so that the soil fills in all of the air holes around the roots.
Do not plant strawberries where potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, raspberries, or blackberries have grown for the past 3 - 4 years. Also avoid areas of recently plowed grass and areas of perennial weeds. Till the soil and mix in compost, manures, and enough fertilizer to deliver 2 pounds of nitrogen and phosphorous per 1000 sq. ft. Fertilizer can be organic or chemical. If you over fertilize you will have excessive vegetative growth and less berries. Fertilize again after June bearing varieties have ripe berries and after the second harvest on ever bearing varieties. Do not fertilize late in the season.
First Year Only - On June bearing varieties, pinch off at least 2/3 of flowers to promote root and new runner growth. On summer bearing varieties, leave 1/2 of flowers and on ever bearing varieties prune off the 1st set of blossoms. Plant 12 inches apart on June and summer bearing varieties, and 8-10 inches apart for ever bearing varieties.
In future years prune off excess runners so that plants are spaced at least 6 - 8 inches apart. Avoid overcrowding.
Don't forget to water regularly, 1 - 2 inches of water per week depending on your temperature. Water only early in day or install a drip line to help prevent berries from rotting. Don't over water when ground is soggy, as too wet of soil will encourage fungal diseases. Adding a straw or bark mulch will keep berries off of the soil is beneficial.
Patented varieties are sold for fruit production only, Propagation is prohibited.
Scenic Hill Farm Nursery, 2820 NW Scenic Drive, Albany, OR 97321, 541-990-6099
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