There are two main types of strawberries: June Bearers and Ever bearers. June bearers produce one prolific crop per year in early summer. Ever bearers will set on two crops per year- one in the early summer and a smaller one in the fall, with a dribble in between. All strawberries can be planted early in the year or in the fall, anywhere from fourteen inches to two feet apart, in rows that are three to four feet apart. Strawberries like well drained soil with lots of organic material, such as old straw or peat moss, mixed in. Mounded or raised beds at least six inches deep are an excellent choice. Strawberries don’t require much cultivation between the rows as long as you have an organically rich soil. Strawberries like cool soil. Mulching with straw around the plants helps keep the ground cool and conserves water. Strawberries prefer deep soakings and should never be allowed to dry out while the plants are producing. Feed strawberries twice a year- once when growth begins and again after the first crop. Use Hi-Yield Super Phosphate at planting time and then use a complete fertilizer high in phosphate, such as 16-16-16, for later feedings. Most strawberries reproduce by forming new plants at the end of runners. Pinching off these runners will give larger parent plants and smaller yields of big berries, or you can do as commercial growers do and permit the runners to grow seven to ten inches apart, or even closer, which will give heavy yields of somewhat smaller berries. You can then dig up these runners the next spring and plant them elsewhere, increasing your strawberry patch. If possible, do not plant strawberries where tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant, melons, raspberries, mums or roses hae grown- these crops may leave behind soil borne diseases that attack strawberries. In the late fall, mow your bed down to about 3 or 4 inches and remove all the mowed leaves, then as soon as the ground starts to freeze, cover the bed with one inch of compost and then three to four inches of straw. Remove most of the straw in the spring when it begins to warm up at night and new growth starts to show.
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