How to Grow Strawberries
In general, strawberries can be very simple. They have simple needs, but they can get very complicated, depending on how many strawberries you want to grow. For small amounts I recommend containers or raised beds, as this will give you more control over spacing and soil composition. Strawberries do best in a 50/50 mixture of sand and organic matter like peat or compost.
Everything strawberries need to grow:
- Excellent drainage
- Nutrient-rich soil
- Regular moisture
- Full sun
- Warm weather
Normally, if strawberries have these things there is little else you need to do, especially with smaller crops. But once you start to grow rows and rows of strawberries piled on top of each other, there are a few techniques you should keep in mind to increase your chances of a successful berry crop.
The Hill or Mound Method
This is great for ever-bearing strawberries. The purpose of this method is to produce the highest quality fruit crop. Your plants will be placed close together - about a foot apart - and all runners will be removed, so that growth and fruit development will focus on the mother plant.
The plants will be placed in an easily managed mound of amended soil - preferably the 50/50 mixture mentioned above - where they can be easily monitored and maintained.
The Matted Row Method
This method is more appropriate for June-bearing strawberries. The plants will be placed about 2 feet apart in mounded rows spaced 3-4 feet apart. This method gives the plants the most freedom to grow and spread, only clearing the way between the rows as a walking path.
This is a fun, somewhat amoebic way to grow berries because they will take full advantage of the given space and there is an opportunity for large crops, but the matted rows are more prone to diseases and pests.
The Spaced Row
Also preferred for June-bearers, this is very similar to the matted row, and the same size rows and spacing are used. However, the plants are monitored more closely. Runners are limited and daughter plants are intentionally spaced further apart.
This method produces fuller fruits because, by limiting outward grow, it allows the plant to focus on production. The spacing and orderliness over the matted method also reduces the risk of damage from pests and disease.
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