The strawberry is a popular and easily grown fruit in the Pacific Northwest. Strawberry plants can be grown in beds or rows. They can also be grown as a ground cover around shrubs or even in containers.

Strawberry plants produce the most fruit during the first 3 years of their life. Strawberry beds should be thinned of older plants each year or a new bed established once every 2 to 3 years. Plants should be thinned to a spacing of at least 6 to 8 inches apart each year in the fall or early spring. When plants are more crowded, they actually produce less fruit. Since the youngest plants produce the most fruit, it is the older, larger plants which should be pulled out. The newest plants usually are attached to a single runner. Older plants may have several attached runners.

Strawberry plants also pick up virus diseases which reduce yield and fruit size over several years. So it is a good idea to start a new bed separated from the old bed with new, virus-free plants every few years. When you start a new bed, be sure to till or spade two or more inches of bark or compost and about 2 pounds per 100 square feet of lime. My favorite strawberry varieties are the continuous bearing varieties such as Seascape, Tribute, and Tri-Star. They bear fruit from June through October. Space plants a foot apart so there will be room for new runner plants.

I like to fertilize my strawberries with a lawn fertilizer or an organic fertilizer in March or April followed by a second application about 2 months later.