By Carrie Terry

Strawberries, unlike many other fruits, grow on plants close along the ground, and put out their own runners for propagation. In Arkansas, strawberry plantings are split into two seasons.

Many commercial growers plant their strawberries in the fall, to allow the plants to take root and establish over the winter for early spring blooming. When planting in fall, it’s important to cover the strawberries with organic or plastic mulch to protect them through the winter.

Most home gardeners choose to plant strawberries in the spring instead, for a more natural growing season. Spring plantings in Arkansas take place mid-April, when the ground has thawed to 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and is welcoming to young strawberry plants.

Strawberries require plots that receive full sunshine all day, every day, to take advantage of the lush Arkansas warmth. The plants cannot tolerate crowding or wet feet, so in swampy areas of Arkansas, it’s important to raise the beds or mix natural soil with plenty of quick-draining soil and compost.