Starting a Strawberry Patch
Strawberries are among the easiest fruits to grow, and they yield sweet rewards all summer long.
- pH kit
- Garden reel
- Bare-root strawberry plants
- Oat straw, salt hay, or pine needles
- Deer mesh
1. Position the patch in a spot with full sun and crumbly soil. Before planting, work compost mixed with chicken and horse manure into the soil to a depth of 12 inches. The bed should be tested to determine the pH level. (A level of pH 6.4 is desirable.) Strawberries also like magnesium and iron, which should be added to the soil.
2. After the soil has been amended, mark rows 3 feet apart with a garden reel. Mound the soil into broad rows. Dig a 6- to 8-inch hole for each plant, leaving 18 inches between each plant; position the holes on alternating sides of the mound to maximize the planting area.
3. Working in the shade, unpack the bare-root plants and trim their roots to 4-inch lengths with scissors. Fill a bucket with water, and soak the roots for an hour before planting.
4. Place each plant in a hole, fanning out the roots to anchor the plant. Carefully cover the roots with soil up to the crown, the point from which the leaves grow. Be careful not to plant the crown below the soil level or to cover the crown, or the plants will be susceptible to crown rot.
5. Cover the soil around the plants, but not on the plants, with a 3-inch layer of straw, salt hay, or pine needles. Water well.
6. Cover with deer mesh to deter deer, birds, and other small animals.