Keys for Success

Choose a site with full sun, good drainage, and a pH between 5.5 and 7.0. Begin improving the soil the year before planting, especially if the pH needs adjusting.

Plant in early spring in soil where no strawberries, brambles, or crops in the tomato family (including potatoes, peppers, and eggplants) have been grown for several years.

Strawberries are shallow rooted. Keep plants well watered, especiallyjust after planting.

Do a good job of early weed control during the establishment year to prevent problems later.

If using the matted-row system, pluck flowers the first year to encourage runners to fill out a 12- to 15-inch-wide strip, but don't let plants get too crowded.

Because they bear early and are relatively easy to grow, strawberries are a great crop for you to start with in your home fruit planting. Strawberries are the most widely grown fruit crop in the world. They can flourish from tropical highlands to subarctic regions. The plants are hardy throughout New York State (if managed and mulched correctly) and can tolerate a wide range of soil types. Strawberries provide more vitamin C than oranges and have fewer calories than most other fruits (see Table i, page 1).

Day-neutral cultivars, which bear fruit from June through October in the Northeast, are now available (see the section "Day-Neutral Strawberries" starting on page 62). The section below discusses traditional "June-bearing" cultivars that fruit in June and July.

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