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Aug 102012
 

Strawberries are one of, if not the most, adaptable fruit crops in the world. These tremendously popular berries are grown from the tropics to near the Arctic Circle. Besides their appeal as fresh fruits, strawberries can be easily processed into jams, jellies, pastries, syrups, fruit leathers, and many other tasty treats.

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Growing Strawberries in the Inland Northwest and Intermountain West

All Strawberries

Optimum pH: 5.5 – 7.0
Productive life: 2 to 3 years

June-Bearing Strawberries

Expected yield: 0.5 to 1 pound per foot of row during the second and third year
Fruit years: second and third
Spacing:

  • Matted row: 12 to 18 inches apart in rows 36 to 48 inches apart
  • Ribbon row: 4 to 9 inches apart in row 36 inches apart
Everbearing Strawberries

Expected yield: 0.25 to .05 per pound of row during the second and third year
Fruiting years: second and third

Dayneutral Strawberries

Expected yield:

  • Year 1: 0.25 to .75 pound per foot of row
  • Years 2 and 3: 0.5 to 1.5 pound per foot row

Fruit years: first, second and third
Spacing:

  • Matted row: 12 to 18 inches apart in rows 36 to 48 inches apart
  • Ribbon row: 4 to 9 inches apart in row 36 inches apart

StrawberriesStrawberry varieties fall into three categories: June-bearing, everbearing, and day-neutral. June-bearing strawberries respond to the short days of autumn by setting flower buds. In the late spring or early summer of the following year, a June-bearer produces a single, heavy crop of strawberries. Remove all flower blossoms that form during the planting year to encourage strong, healthy plants. Begin cropping your June-bearers the year after planting. Replace beds more than three years old.

Everbearing strawberries also set flower buds in fall, but do so again during the long days of summer. In this way, these varieties bear two moderate crops each year: one in the late spring or early summer and another in the late summer and early fall. Particularly during cool growing seasons, everbearers produce a trickle of fruit throughout the summer. As with June-bearers, remove all flower blossoms that form during the planting year. Replace beds more than three years old.

Dayneutral strawberries set flower buds throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Theoretically, they should bear a continuous crop of fruit from late spring until fall frosts. In actuality, they behave more like everbearers under Idaho conditions, with moderate to heavy crops in the spring and fall, and a smaller stream of berries in between. As is true with the everbearers, cool weather during the summer encourages flower formation and fruiting. Day neutral varieties yield more than everbearers. Remove all blossoms that develop between spring planting and early August. You can begin cropping dayneutral varieties during fall of the planting year. Because they come into production the year of planting, rather than in the second year, yields over the life of the planting are greater than for June-bearers.

Although they are highly adaptable, good site selection, site preparation, and variety selection are critical if you are to be successful with strawberries. The best sites have deep, moist, well drained soils. Sandy loams are best, but most loams are satisfactory if drainage is provided. Strawberries do not tolerate either drought or wet soils well. Commercially, most strawberries are grown on raised beds about 12 inches high and 18 inches wide. This practice is also excellent for home gardeners. For details on planting designs and crop care, download a copy of Growing Strawberries in the Inland Northwest and Intermountain West.

Selecting the right variety for your site is important. Cold hardiness, for example, ranges from slightly below freezing to ­50°F. Resistance to common strawberry diseases also varies greatly among varieties.

 August 10, 2012