By Dena Kane

Early Glow is a cultivar of June-bearing strawberry plant that is considered to be an early season performer that will produce berries ripe for harvest in the late spring or very early summer. Cornell University recommends Early Glow not only for its early ripening but also for the cultivar’s resistance to the common red stele and verticillium wilt root rots. Early Glow strawberry crowns should be planted in the spring after the last hard frost has passed and the soil has completely thawed and is easily worked.

Till up a planting bed in an area that gets full daily sun exposure and no shade. Provide a growing soil that is easy draining, nutrient rich, loamy, and with some sand to boost drainage. Ensure that the soil is lightly acidic with a chemistry of 6.0 to 6.5 pH.

Mix a water-soluble, slow-release organic or synthetic fertilizer into the tilled ground at least two weeks before planting your Early Glow crowns. Use a complete, balanced formulation with a guaranteed analysis of 10-10-10. Follow the product label dosing directions for the size of your planting bed but never exceed 4 pounds of fertilizer for every 100 square feet of planting soil. Combine with the top 3 inches of soil and water in well to distribute.

Excavate one or more shallow planting furrows in the prepared soil, using intervals of 18 inches when planting multiple rows.

Set the crowns into the furrows so that the central eye of the crown is at or just slightly proud of the soil line. Never bury the central eye of the crown or cover it with soil. Firm the soil around the base of the plant lightly with your palms.

Water the soil around the base of the Early Glow crowns until soaked to a depth of at least 6 inches. Water gently at the soil level and refrain from hitting the leaves or above-ground portion of the crown with a jet or heavy stream of water.

Mulch around the strawberry crowns with clean straw to keep weeds at bay. Insulate the roots and prevent soil and disease spores from being splashed up onto the plants during irrigation or rains.

Provide at least 1 inch of water each week thereafter either by natural rainfall, irrigation or a combination thereof. More water may be needed each week in hot and/or dry climates to keep the soil evenly moist but not wet.

Heavy or dense soils, such as those with clay, should be amended with coarse organic materials to lighten them and boost drainage.