Any soil that is warm, firm, and will work into a fine tilth is suitable. The position selected needs to be sheltered so that late spring frosts do no harm to the flowers. Varieties can be selected to suit the particular soil and so make a good crop more certain. For heavy soils choose Sir Joseph Paxton, while on a light soil grow Royal Sovereign. Where the soil is peaty, Jucunda will do best.
August to October is the season for making new strawberry beds, the earlier the better. Choose a showery period so the plants have a good chance of taking root. The depth to plant is important. You will find each plant has a crown, and this should be level with the soil surface. If it is too deep or too shallow poor results will follow, if the plant does not fail entirely. Too shallow planting is even worse than too deep.
If you are unable to plant until spring, give the plants a chance to establish themselves before they are called upon to bear a crop.
Strawberry beds are planted with year-old plants set in rows 1 ft. apart.
The life of a strawberry bed is from three to four years, and the best crop is from plants in their second year. In order, therefore, to have plants in the garden that are always at their peak, part of the bed should be replanted annually, a third or a quarter according to whether plants are to remain three or four years.
Strawberries are surface rooting so the soil cannot be deeply cultivated. Keep the hoe going on the surface until it is time to put straw in position. Top dress with guano in spring.
As soon as the weight of the fruit bears down the trusses, it is time to straw the plants. Clean dry straw should be used, and not only does it help to keep the fruits clean but it acts as a mulch and conserves the moisture supply. If mildew should make an appearance, dust the plants with flowers of sulphur when the dew is still on them.
When all the fruit has been gathered, the straw should be removed and attention may then be paid to the runners.
Royal Sovereign, Sir Joseph Paxton, Jucunda, Tardive de Leopold.
The best method of propagation is by layering runners early in July. Vigorous runners with compact centres should be selected, but do not allow a plant to retain more than four runners at the most. It is best to peg down runners in small 3-in. Pots rather than direct into the ground, using wire pins or wooden layering pegs. Place a small piece of turf over the drainage hole in the pot and fill up with a mixture of loam and leaf soil. The pot is then plunged into the soil, to avoid drying out of soil or upsetting. It is important to keep the soil moist.
Cultivation under glass.
Propagation similar to outdoor cultivation, but young plants should be potted up about the middle of August into 6-in, pots, filled with a compost mixture of coarse turfy loam (three parts), well-rotted manure (one part), and broken up brick rubble and lime (one part). This is improved by dusting over with bonemeal and soot. Make sure the pots are well drained. Stand the pots on well rammed ashes.
Wintering in a frame. In late. Autumn if frosts become severe, pots should be sunk up to the rim in ashes in a cold frame, but with care not to let leaves come close to the glass. The pots must not be allowed to become dry, and ventilation should be given whenever possible.
It is possible to have strawberries early in April if pots are moved about the middle or January and placed on shelves near the glass in a vinery or peach house ; if these are not available a heated frame will serve just as well. The heat should be gradual at first (50 degrees Fahrenheit by night and rising 5 degrees Fahrenheit by day, but taking due note of heat of sun).
Keep atmosphere dry while plants are in flower and each day, about midday, gently, shake the flowers or dust the centre of each with a, rabbit’s tail to make sure of cross pollination.
Damp floors in hot weather and keep plants syringed to prevent attacks of green fly and red spider.