By Phoebe Strauss

Pennsylvania is one of the leading strawberry-producing states in the United States. The crops usually produce fruit in June, since only June-bearing strawberry varieties are adapted to all regions of the state. Pennsylvania State University recommends the following cultivars: Earliglow, Northeaster, Cavendish, Honeoye, Allstar, Primetime and Jewel. Strawberry growers in the state use various planting methods: matted-row, plasticulture and ribbon-row are three of them, with matted-row being the most common.

Select a site with well-drained soil that receives full sun exposure for at least six hours.

Remove a handful of soil from the site to test its pH. Buy a test kit at a garden-supply shop or take the soil sample to your local cooperative extension office. Strawberries require a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5, which is slightly acidic.

Break up the ground to a depth of about 8 inches with a shovel and pickax.

Spread a 4-inch layer of compost or another organic amendment over the turned ground. Mix it in with a rake or garden fork. Pennsylvania State University says the state’s soil tends to be heavy and benefits from the addition of organic matter.

Dig holes 18 inches apart as soon as the ground thaws. In Pennsylvania that’s usually in April. If you have enough plants for more than one row, space them 3 feet from each other. Make the holes as deep and wide as the roots of your seedlings.

Transplant the strawberries after sundown or on an overcast day.

Irrigate the plants thoroughly. Overhead irrigation is best in Pennsylvania, as it provides additional frost protection. Strawberry’s shallow roots can’t dig deep for moisture and require regular watering.

As the strawberry transplants develop, new daughter plants will sprout. Allow them to root to form a matted row up to 2 feet wide.