Glossy red, long-necked fruit, ‘Ozark Beauty’, ‘Tri Star’, ‘Seascape’ and ‘Eversweet’ have a mild, sweet flavor. Very productive everbearing varieties will bear fruit in late spring and again in fall.
‘Chandler’, ‘Honeoye’, ‘Surecrop’ and ‘Earli-Glow’ are popular June-bearing varieties, producing good crops in almost any growing region or soil type. Firm fruit is useful for fresh eating or the freezer.
Plant June-bearing and everbearing for continuous fruit production.
SITE: Strawberries require direct, full sunlight for best production. Choose a sunny location in your garden with a soil pH of 6-6.5 (slightly acidic), and avoid planting where tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant, raspberries, or black berries have grown within the past three years, as they can host fungi like Verticillium wilt, and attract insect pests that build up in the soil. Protect strawberry plants from deer, who love to eat fresh young plants early in the season.
PROPAGATION: Strawberries propagate themselves by sending out runners, which can be used to renew the strawberry patch. Allow them to root and transplant to a new bed.
PLANTING & CARE: Mulch is easier to apply before planting — use straw or wood chips over newspaper or cardboard. Synthetic weed mat is not recommended. Pinch off flowers the first summer to allow energy to go into the development of runners. Cover strawberry bed with straw in fall to protect from freeze and thaw cycles. Remove mulch after last frost in spring and place into paths between rows. June-bearing varieties will produce a vigorous crop of delicious fruit in the early summer of the second year, followed by heavy runner production. Plant with everbearing variety for continuous strawberry production.
FERTILIZING: Feed with top-dressing of compost or liquid organic fertilizer in spring to boost plant vigor during flowering and again after fruiting to encourage healthy runners.