Ripe strawberries right out of the garden are one of the joys of summer. It's important to know how to select strawberry varieties, harvest the fruit, and even—after a few good harvests—renovate an old strawberry patch.
On this episode of Talk of Iowa, Denny Schrock, State Master Gardener Coordinator, has some suggestions for growing the sweetest fruit.
"If you’re doing the June bearing variety, you want to plant those 18 to 24 inches apart," Schrock says. "If you have good Iowa loam, you should have a good crop of strawberries."
But it pays to wait. According to Schrock, strawberries need time to become established.
"The first season is the establishment season," Schrock says. "Typically, by your second year of growing you’re going to have a good full crop."
But strawberries can't grow indefinitely. Over time, fungus and insects can wreak havoc on a strawberry patch. Gardeners can revitalize the soil with techniques like solarization, for instance. Often, however, going back to square one is necessary
"We usually recommend completely replacing your strawberry bed every few years, three to five I would say," Schrock says.
Richard Jauron, Iowa State University Extension Horticulture Specialist, also joins host Charity Nebbe and answers listener questions.