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Connecticut Garden Journal
Connecticut Garden Journal is a weekly program hosted by horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi. Each week, Charlie focuses on a topic relevant to both new and experienced gardeners, including pruning lilac bushes, growing blight-free tomatoes, groundcovers, sunflowers, bulbs, pests, and more.

Connecticut Garden Journal: Strawberries

strawberry
frankieleon (Flickr / Creative Commons)
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It's been a great strawberry season in our garden, but our June bearing plants are winding down for the season. If you're growing everbearing or day neutral varieties, such as 'Ozark Beauty' and 'Evie2', you should continue having berries right until the end of summer.

Hopefully, you enjoyed a bountiful harvest this year, but there's still some work to do in the strawberry patch.

June bearing strawberries put out runners or baby plants and the row of berries can quickly become overgrown each year. Overgrown strawberry beds will be less productive. July is the time to renovate the beds. This month, mow down the foliage of your strawberries by raising the mower blade settings to high. This will protect the crown of the plant. Then hoe, dig or till the edges of the beds reducing the width of the rows to 1 foot wide. Weed well, add an organic 5-5-5 or equivalent fertilizer and thin the plants inside the bed to 4- to 6-inches part. Keep well watered this summer. This will insure you have a good crop of berries next June.

Everbearing and day neutral plants don't need renovating. These varieties don't produce many runners, so the beds don't get crowded. Space any runners that do form to 6 inches apart to use as replacement plants for the mother plants in a few years.

We also plant strawberries as a groundcover under shrubs and tall perennials. We just let them go and don't worry about production. We get a few berries but mostly it's for keeping weeds out, and making the bed look more attractive.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.

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