Ask Our Experts

Answers to your questions about gardening, energy, homesteading and other sustainable living topics.

Add to My MSN

Growing Day-Neutral Strawberries

2/21/2013 1:52:00 PM

Tags: growing strawberries, berries, strawberry

What are “day-neutral” strawberries? Do they have different requirements from regular June-bearers? Day-Neutral Strawberries

Day-neutral strawberries, also called “ever-bearing” strawberries, flower and fruit when temperatures are between 35 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. So instead of picking a single large crop of strawberries in June, you’ll pick smaller amounts of berries (and smaller berries, usually about 1 inch in size) over a longer period of time. That’s a nice benefit if you prefer fresh berries to preserved berries, for which you generally want a larger crop all at once.

Compared with June-bearers, day-neutral strawberry varieties also produce fewer runners and are a little easier to manage in the garden. Use the “hill system” when planting them in the ground: Make mounds of soil about 8 inches high by 24 inches wide and as long as you like. Within each hill, set plants in double rows, spacing the plants about 12 inches apart in a staggered pattern. Mulch the bed with straw to prevent weed growth and retain soil moisture. Remove all plant runners that appear the first year.

The roots of day-neutral strawberry plants don’t grow deep, so provide at least 1 inch of water per week during the growing season. In late fall, replenish straw mulch to a depth of at least 2 inches, covering the crowns of the plants. Pull back the mulch in spring, after temperatures have risen above freezing, to expose the crowns and encourage new growth.

Because day-neutral varieties usually bear fruit the year they’re planted, they can be grown as an annual crop. If you’re establishing a perennial bed, however, remove all flower buds that form before July 1 in the plants’ first year to help them become better established. Check with your county extension office for recommended varieties for your area.

— Vicki Mattern, Contributing Editor 

Above: Day-neutral strawberries are smaller and easier to manage than June-bearers.. 

Photo Courtesy Dreamstime/Tamara Muldoon

Vicki Mattern is a contributing editor for MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, book editor and freelance magazine writer. She has edited or co-authored seven books on gardening, and lives and works from her home in northwestern Montana. You can find Vicki on .

Related Content

Urban Homesteading: Bountiful Berries

Bounty is in the eye of the beholder — whether it be a bowl of perfect berries or millions of maple ...

How Do I Get Rid of Moss in My Strawberry Bed?

Abundant moisture and soil acidity are major factors in the growth of moss. There's nothing wrong wi...

Country Style Strawberry Shortcake

Traditional, Country Style Strawberry Shortcake.

DIY Wedding Flowers

You can stretch your budget for wedding flowers by growing some of your own. Learn how to select, sc...

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.