By Jackie Carroll
Ideally, strawberries need 10 or more hours of sunlight a day. They can produce a crop with as little as six hours of sun, but the berries will be smaller and not as plentiful. Choose a site with soil that is moist but well-drained. It’s best not to plant strawberries where grass, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes or eggplants recently were grown. Plant strawberries on a cool, cloudy day in early spring. The plants tolerate a light frost after planting.
Trim roots that are longer than 4 to 5 inches with scissors. Remove all flowers, runners, damaged parts and old, dried leaves from the plants.
Dig a hole deep enough to accommodate the roots of the plant without crowding. Set the soil aside.
Set the plant in the hole so that half of the crown sits above the soil line and the other half sits below. The crown is the fleshy part of the plant between the foliage and the roots.
Fill the hole with the soil you set aside, and firm it around the plant.
Plant each additional strawberry plant in the same manner, allowing 18 to 24 inches between them; space rows 3 to 4 feet apart. There will seem to be a lot of empty space between plants, but they soon will send out runners and fill in with daughter plants.
Water thoroughly once all plants are in the ground.
The plant depth is very important. If set too shallow, the roots may dry out, resulting in the death of the plant. If the roots are too deep, the plant may fail to grow.
If your soil doesn’t drain well, plant strawberries in a raised bed that is 6 to 8 inches high.