By Anna Aronson
Successful strawberry plants are the pride of many home gardeners. You, too, can add strawberries to your garden’s bounty with a little know-how. Keep in mind that one strawberry plant typically produces between 1 qt. and 2 qt. of fruit each summer. What you decide to do with the berries is up to you, but the possibilities are limitless.
Growing strawberries successfully requires a spot in your garden that meets the soil and light needs of the plants. Strawberries need full sun — at least six hours a day of direct sunlight. Ideally, you should plant the berries somewhere where they will get at least 10 hours of sun each day. As for soil, strawberries need soil that retains water, but also drains well. You can add organic matter, such as peat, to the soil to add to its draining capacity. Mulching around the plants after they are set can also help because they will better be able to retain moisture.
You can set strawberries in the ground as soon as the soil warms enough in the spring that you can easily work with it. Plant strawberries before hot weather arrives, though, otherwise they will not establish themselves early enough in the growing season. And avoid planting the berries after a heavy rain or when the soil is otherwise wet or saturated.
Plant strawberries so the midpoint of the crown is flush with the soil surface, the Minnesota State University Extension advises. If plants are set too deeply, the roots may root or the crown can become damaged. Strawberries planted too shallowly can suffer from crowns that dry out. Once the plant is set firmly in the soil, pack in the surrounding dirt firmly so no air remains. The plant should be watered thoroughly immediately so they can start establishing their roots.
If you are trying to grow more than one strawberry plant, make sure you know how to space them. Check the information that came with the plant for specific spacing directions. In general, though, plants should be 15 inches to 24 inches apart. If you’re an ambitious gardener and you’re planting multiple rows of the berries, make sure they are 3 feet to 4 feet apart.