How to Grow Strawberries from Bare-roots
Strawberry Planting Guide
Never grown berries before? Strawberries are a great place to start!
First you will need to determine if a Day-Neutral/Everbearing or a June-Bearing variety is right for your situation.
A Day-Neutral/Everbearing strawberries flower and fruit no matter how long or short the days, but their season is determined rather by temperature. So long as temperatures stay between 40 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit these strawberries will flower and fruit. Generally, buds will form in summer and fall; summer buds will fruit in fall and fall buds will fruit the following spring. They are a good choice for production situations and for the home gardener who wants the longest possible growing season, and therefore a larger crop.
June-Bearing are the traditional strawberry plants that are usually found in home garden situations. These varieties will flower and fruit based on the length of day, producing buds in shorter autumn days and flowering and fruiting the following spring season. June-bearing varieties produce fruit for 4-6 weeks in the early summer and runners throughout the long summer days. June-bearing varieties, while they will not produce as long, or as large a harvest, are generally sweeter, larger and better tasting right off the plant.
All strawberries will prefer a location in full sun with loamy soil. pH should be slightly acidic to neutral (between 5.5 and 7) and most strawberries will be hardy in zones 4-10. While strawberries are hardy over-winter it is important to protect them from early spring frosts once they have begun to flower. For this reason, many gardeners choose to plant strawberries in raised beds where they are less susceptible to frost and where adequate drainage can be provided.
Strawberry plants will easily rot if they are kept in too wet of conditions. Strawberries are also generally susceptible to verticillium wilt and should not be planted near peppers, tomatoes, eggplant or potatoes--or where they have been previously grown.
Strawberries will need adequate nutrients from the soil to produce large, healthy crops. Soil should be worked and organic matter and bone meal should be added about 1 month prior to planting. Approximately 1 week before you expect to plant, an additional general fertilizer can be added. Strawberries have very shallow roots and should not be fertilized directly once planted.
To set plants, dig a hole large enough to accommodate roots without bending, but shallow enough to cover roots completely with crown still at soil surface. Roots do not need to be longer than 8 inches when planting and it is OK to gently trim if necessary Make sure to provide enough space for plants to spread; strawberries will produce "daughter" plants by way of runners that will grow out from the parent plant and take root, expanding your crop. If you do not wish to let the strawberries spread, simply trim runners before they have had a chance to take root.
First and second generation plants will produce the largest harvests and strawberries should not be allowed to produce runners past this point. Adequate water is very important due to the shallowness of the root system; approximately 1in per week.
To establish a crop for peak performance and production, especially with Junebearing varieties, plants should not be allowed to fruit in their first year so that they may put all of their efforts into establishing root systems and saving reserves for next years harvest.
When plants start to blossom they should be pinched off so they do not fruit, and in the following year, allowed to blossom and fruit as they please. Only harvest fruits that are completely red and make sure to cut stems, rather than pull berries, when harvesting.