Strawberries are one of the easiest garden fruits to grow. They take up little space and require less maintenance than other fruit crops. They need less sun than grapes or apples, but they do need at least six hours of sunlight per day to produce good crops.
Strawberries need at least six hours of sunlight per day, meaning that they tolerate partial shade. However, they'll produce even higher yields if they receive 10 hours of sunlight every day. Strawberries grown in shade produce lots of foliage, but few if any berries. The foliage may become yellowed or stunted due to lack of light.
Strawberries are versatile, compact plants that grow in a variety of situations as long as they receive adequate sunlight. Grow strawberries in the garden or in raised beds. They produce runners and tend to wander, so keep them contained in their own spot. If you have limited space, grow strawberries in a whiskey barrel planter or in a hanging basket on a sunny porch. Move hanging baskets in the summer if the sun is very intense and the leaves become scorched.
Strawberries come in three types: June-bearing, ever-bearing and day-neutral. June-bearing strawberries produce a large crop in June or July, followed by dwindling production. These plants are a good choice for those living in areas with mild springs or those who want to process large amounts of strawberries for jam. Ever-bearing and day-neutral types produce berries all season long. Ever-bearing types produce large crops in June and August, with a few berries in July. Day-neutrals produce smaller, continuous harvests all summer. Planting and pruning requirements vary slightly, but all strawberry types need full sun to thrive.
In addition to full sun, give strawberries fertile, well-drained soil, amended with compost and 10-10-10 fertilizer. Mulch the berries with untreated grass clippings or straw and water them at least weekly to keep the soil evenly moist. Remove runners and small, weak plants in the fall and cut back the leaves. Cover strawberries with straw in the winter to protect them from cold weather.
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