Tips for Growing Strawberries
When and Where to Plant
Strawberries are sold in nurseries as bare-root, dormant plants or six-packs of plants already growing. They are usually available in fall and from January through mid-February. Six-packs, which resemble egg cartons, often are sold in late February or spring. Bare roots tend to be cheaper.
There are three basic ways to grow strawberries: in pots (especially if space is limited); in the ground; and in raised beds. The primary reason for planting strawberries on raised beds is for drainage, but also to protect from the heat.
Botrytis, or gray mold, is one common fungus growers should be wary of. It can sit on the berries and cause them to rot. Affected leaves or rotting fruit should be removed immediately to prevent spread of any disease or fungus. Warm weather is great for strawberries, but once the temperature is higher than 85 degrees, the berries begin to suffer. To provide some shade, use floating row covers, made from a white cotton-like fabric, available at most nurseries. Growers can use the covers in February, March or when they plant in spring.
Pests and Weeds
As for pests – slugs, snails and sow bugs – use chemical bait. Put the bait in the corner of raised beds and away from the berries to keep the fruit from getting contaminated. However, be careful with the bait if you have pets around.
Also, where strawberries grow, weeds will also spring up. So be prepared to weed, and to use black plastic atop the soil to keep down the weeds and to give the berries a dry, fungus-free place to lie.
Nzong Xiong writes for the Fresno Bee.