In the first year, pick off blossoms to discourage strawberry plants from fruiting. If not allowed to bear fruit, they will spend their food reserves on developing healthy roots. The yields will be much greater in the second year.
Eliminate daughter plants as needed. First and second generations produce higher yields. Try to space each plant about 10 inches apart.
Moisture is incredibly important due to shallow roots. Water adequately, about one inch per week. Strawberry plants need a lot of water when the runners and flowers are developing and again in the fall when the plants are mature.
Keep the beds mulched to reduce water needs and weed invasion.
Be diligent about weeding. Weed by hand, especially in the first months after planting.
When the growing season is over, mow or cut foliage down to one inch and mulch plants about 4 inches deep with straw, pine needles or other organic material. This can be done after the first couple of frosts, or when air temps reach 20° F.
Remove mulch in early spring, after danger of frost has passed.
Row covers are a good option for protecting blossoms and fruit from birds.
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