Planting a strawberry bed

Strawberries are the most popular fruit in the home garden. They’ll grow nearly anywhere on any size plot, and even in containers. With proper care, each strawberry plant can produce a full quart of berries.

Sarah Browning is an Extension horticulture educator at the University of Nebraska. She says there are three main types of strawberries.

"June bearing strawberries are the most common type that home gardeners will grow, and they have one main crop a year and usually right in that June timeframe which is where they get their common name," explains Browning. "Day neutral cultivars will set flower buds throughout the season so you can get harvests for a longer period of time.  Ever bearing are somewhat similar in that they will fruit periodically throughout the growing season."

Picking berries all season may sound wonderful, but Browning says you’ll usually have the largest and best harvest from plants that set fruit only once.

Strawberries like full sun and well-drained soil. They don’t like wet feet, but don’t perform well in drought conditions either so have a water supply nearby if there’s not enough rain.

If you don’t have a nice, flat spot to grow them on, choose a north-facing slope.

"And the reason for that is that the north-facing slope tends to be a little cooler, which delays flower bud development in the spring, and can help prevent problems that we run into with flowers dying from a late frost," she says. "Whereas if the plants are located on a south-facing slope they will tend to warm up faster and they could be more susceptible to those late frosts."

You can usually set out your new plants when the trees in your area are beginning to leaf out. Put them in the ground so that the soil is just covering the tops of the roots, taking care not to cover the crown. Space them out about 18-inches apart.