Keep those strawberries coming even now, in the heat of summer!
If you planted day-neutral or everbearing strawberries which don't send out many runners, they're busy. They've been putting their energy into producing multiple harvests right into fall. (If you planted June-bearing strawberries, well, they’ve mostly come and gone.)
A bit of extra work during these hot days will help keep the harvest coming. A few quick tips:
TIP! At the end of August or early September remove and compost dead leaves. Also remove weak new runners that you don't want to keep.
You may be blessed with rains, but if not keep up with watering. Regular watering is especially important while the fruit is forming, from early bloom to harvest. Water regularly at a rate of 1 – 2 inches per week in most soil types. Strawberries planted in pots might need a daily drink.
Strawberries generally prefer spring and early summer when the soil is still cool. During summer the soil of course heats up. You can help to keep it a bit cooler with applications of organic mulch. An extra layer now can encourage late fruiting. Apply about a 1-in layer around berries. Be sure to pull the mulch back from the crown of the plant (the above ground parts.) This will avoid any threat of rot.
Apply a balanced fertilizer after the second harvest of day-neutral and everbearing types (probably in July) and every 4 weeks thereafter. Stop fertilizing in early fall in order to prevent new growth that will be damaged by frost. (Organic options for fertilizing strawberries include blood meal, fish meal, soy meal, or alfalfa meal.)
Pick All Ripe Berries
You're probably already picking berries daily. Take a few extra minutes to root around in all the foliage to hunt for strays. Fruit left on the plant becomes over ripe and can promote the twin strawberry spoilers: mold and insects.
Good To Know:
Everbearing do not continually bear fruit. They instead produce two to three harvests of fruit intermittently during the spring, summer and fall. Everbearing plants do not send out many runners.
Day-neutral strawberries produce fruit throughout the growing season, but in smaller quantities than June- bearing plants. Like everbearing types, these strawberries also produce few runners.
Everbearing and day neutral strawberries are great when space is limited and have a longer season of harvest. However, the fruits are often smaller than June bearers.