Introduction to Growing Strawberries

Do you want to grow strawberries? This "how to grow" section is dedicated to providing helpful information and suggestions for your success!

June Bearing Strawberry Plants: These varieties can provide berries for approximately 4-6 weeks if you include Early Season through Late Season varieties in your garden.  We suggest not allowing plants to fruit the first year, by removing all blossoms. This will enable the plants to produce a larger crop the second year.  A well maintained planting of June Bearers can last 3-5 years!

   Early Season: Plants begin fruiting in late spring for approximately 10 days.

   Early Midseason: Plants begin fruiting 5 days after the beginning of Early Season varieties for approximately 10 days.

   Midseason: Plants begin fruiting 8 days after the beginning of Early Season varieties for approximately 10 days.

   Late Midseason: Plants begin fruiting 10 days after the beginning of Early Season varieties for approximately 10 days.

   Late Season: Plants begin fruiting 14 days after the beginning of Early Season varieties for approximately 10 days.

Everbearing (Dayneutrals): These varieties offer instant gratification all season, yielding berries from July through October. Ideal for annual planting, we recommend you select two varieties and plant every 1-2 years.

Step 1 - Plan your Space

June-bearing strawberries are most often planted to produce a matted row. 

  • Your plants will produce runners which you arrange in the bed to fill the row.
  • Keep a pathway approximately 18" wide between rows. 
  • Remove or relocate additional runners that develop so the plants don't get overcrowded. 

Strawberry plant spacing

  • dormant, bare-root strawberry plants should be spaced 12" - 18" apart in rows (rows are 3' - 4' on center)
  • evenly space 4-5 daughters from each mother over the row (all plants should be at least 6" from its neighbor)

Step 2 – Prepare your Planting Area

  • Strawberries grow best in well-drained loam or sandy-loam soil, rich in organic matter. If organic matter is required, mix in some well-aged compost or manure a few weeks prior to planting or in the fall prior to planting
  • Build reaised beds if your soil is slow to drain after a rain or if you have a heavier soil or clay soil.
  • Check soil Ph. Optimum pH is 6.5 - 6.8.
  • Do not fertilize too close to your planting date. Mix 1/2 lb 10-10-10 per 1000 sq. ft. at least 2 - 3 weeks prior to planting or in the fall prior to planting.
  • Find straw for covering the bed during the growing season and for covering the plants before winter.
  • Access to water is important. Plants will need irrigation at planting and throughout the growing season.

Step 1. Remove grass / weeds from planting area and build raised beds if necessary. (For best results, do this step in the autumn prior to spring planting).

Step 2. Find a resource for straw

Step 3 – Plant your Strawberries

strawberry planting

  • Dig holes large and deep enough to allow the roots to go straight down without curling or cutting.
  • Be careful to keep the soil line in the middle of the crown. Double check after several days to make sure the soil is at the proper level. During the season be careful not to cover the crowns with soil.
  • Have straw ready to spread beneath your plants for the next growing season. You will need more straw to cover the plants before winter.

Step 4 – Harvest your Strawberries

strawberry harvesting

Step 5 – Maintain your Strawberry Plants

June Bearing

IRRIGATION

  • Throughout the growing season, 1" – 2" rainfall or equivalent is necessary per week, depending on soil.

FERTILIZATION

  Establishment year

  • Mix ½ lb of 10–10–10 per 100 sq ft into soil 2 or more weeks prior to planting.
  • Side–dress with ½ lb 10–10–10 in July, August and September.

  Subsequent years

  • Side–dress with 1½ lb 10–10–10 between renovation (see below) and early September.
  • Regularly check the soil pH and amend to keep at the optimum 6.5–6.8.
  • CAUTION: Over–fertilizing is detrimental.

WEED CONTROL

  • Thoroughly remove weeds prior to planting.
  • Weekly cultivation is required. Remember the roots are shallow. Take care not to damage the roots.
  • You may apply a granular herbicide to control weeds before they grow. Check with your local agricultural extension before using chemicals.
  • Proper mulching will aid in weed control.

RENOVATION

  • June–bearing strawberry plants require renovation. After all the berries have been harvested, mow or clip the plants and remove the clippings from the strawberry bed. Do not renovate in the planting year. (Ever–bearing/day–neutral strawberry plants are not renovated.)
  • Be careful not to cut or injure the crowns during this process.
  • Apply 1 lb 10–10–10 per 100 sq ft at time of renovation and ½ lb per 100 sq ft in September.

WINTER PROTECTION

  • Cover plants with 4" of straw (not hay) mulch to protect the crowns. Salt hay is acceptable – do not use leaves.
  • Apply mulch after several significant frosts.
  • Remove mulch in early spring before new growth begins.

Ever-Bearing

IRRIGATION

  • Throughout the growing season, 1" – 2" rainfall or equivalent is necessary per week, depending on soil.

FERTILIZATION

  Establishment year

  • Mix ½ lb of 10–10–10 per 100 sq ft into soil 2 or more weeks prior to planting.
  • Side–dress with ½ lb 10–10–10 in July, August.

  Subsequent years

  • Side–dress with ½ lb 10–10–10 in July, August.
  • Regularly check the soil pH and amend to keep at the optimum 6.5–6.8.
  • CAUTION: Over-fertilizing is detrimental.

WEED CONTROL

  • Thoroughly remove weeds prior to planting.
  • Weekly cultivation is required. Remember the roots are shallow. Take care not to damage the roots.
  • You may apply a granular herbicide to control weeds before they grow. Check with your local agricultural extension before using chemicals.
  • Proper mulching will aid in weed control.

RENOVATION

  • Ever-bearing / day–neutral strawberry plants are not renovated

WINTER PROTECTION

  • Cover plants with 4" of straw (not hay) mulch to protect the crowns. Salt hay is acceptable – do not use leaves.
  • Apply mulch after several significant frosts.
  • Remove mulch in early spring before new growth begins.

Growing BlackberriesClick to print PDF of the Strawberry Steps to Success

Spacing

  • 12” – 18” between plants unless otherwise noted
  • 3’ – 4’ between rows
  • Depth – see our Planting Guide for detailed charts

Irrigation

  • Water thoroughly after planting
  • 1”-2” rainfall or equivalent per week, depending on soil

Fertilization

  • Mix ½-1lb of 10-10-10 per 100 sq ft into soil before planting
  • Add supplementary fertilizer in July and August
  • pH: 6.5-6.8

Weed Control

  • Prepare your site prior to planting
  • Control weeds before they start with a granular herbicide
  • Proper mulching will aid in weed control

Winter Protection

  • Cover plants with straw to protect the crowns
  • Apply mulch after several good frosts
  • Remove mulch in early spring before new growth

Our videos are written and produced by Nate Nourse and are aimed at your success. You'll find all our Video Learning Guides in our Video Library.

Nourse Farms fields

Planting and Growing our Strawberry Plant Nursery

Nourse Farms fields

Digging and Packing Strawberry Plants

Nourse Farms fields

How to Plant
Strawberries

Healthy berry plants require these important elements:

Berry Planting Tips
  • Early planting! Plant as early as possible in the spring. Snow or occasional frost will not hurt most new plants (green tissue culture plants excepted), and spring rains will foster growth. Planting in the fall is not recommended in the Northeast and Midwest.
  • A sunny, weed-free location with at least a half-day of sunlight.
  • Clean beds that are frequently weeded.
  • Well-drained soil. For poor drainage conditions, consider raised beds.
  • Proper soil pH. Matching soil pH to plant requirements can be a huge factor in your success. Sample the soil before planting and contact your local cooperative extension office for assistance.
  • Crop rotation. Avoid planting strawberries or raspberries in soils where previous crops have included strawberries, raspberries, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant or peppers. These crops may harbor the soil pathogens Verticillium, Phytophthora and nematodes and may affect your new plants.
  • Irrigation. Maintain proper moisture levels throughout the season and, most importantly, during the establishment period. Drip irrigation is imperative when planting in raised beds.

Avoid Common Mistakes

  • Read free planting guide 1-3 months before planting.
  • Plants will fail to flourish if roots are too deep or too shallow.
  • Pack soil firmly around the roots.
  • Do not plant near wild plants or plants whose origins are unknown.
  • Water well one to three times a week, not every day.
  • Avoid fertilizer burn by fertilizing only after plants are established.
  • Do not soak plants in water more than 1 hour!