By Desirae Roy

The promise of juicy, sweet red berries throughout the summer season is a temptation easy to indulge when you plant Ozark strawberries early in the season. An everbearing strawberry cultivar, Ozark berries will provide two distinct seasonal crops of berries. Typically bright red and small to medium sized, these tasty garden treats are fairly easy to plant and raise in your own garden.

Prepare the ground by incorporating organic matter, such as composted leaves or manure, up to 5 percent of the total planting bed volume. Till to a depth of at least 6 inches evenly across the bed, which will increase drainage and provide long term nutrients for the berries.

Add fertilizer as you prepare the ground, at a rate of 1 lb. per 100 square feet of planting bed. 10-10-10 fertilizer should be evenly distributed across the bed and incorporated to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.

Create hills in which to place the mother Ozark starts. Mound soil into 2 to 3 rows of hills with 2 feet between each group of rows.

Plant 2 to 3 plants one foot apart in the rows.

Remove runners as they emerge from the mother plant. Runners appear like thin stems shooting out from the crown of the plant and then set themselves into the soil where they root and create a new small plant. These runners will compete with the mother plant for nutrients, and for everbearing strawberries like Ozark, the mother plant will produce the best crops.

Continually remove weeds from the planting bed and between rows for the first 3 weeks of growth. These weeks are critical for root and plant development, and weeds compete for water and nutrients.

Add organic mulch, such as weed free straw or composted leaves, around the plants and between rows to conserve moisture. This practice also deters weeds.