In San Diego, December is the best time to plant bare-root strawberries for a sweet spring harvest.
Bare-root strawberries are strawberry plants that have gone dormant, have no soil on their roots and have few or no leaves. They’re really not much to look at; but once planted, they will wake up and sprout out an abundance of beautiful, dark green and glossy leaves. They are typically sold in bundles and can be ordered online or found in many local nurseries.
Strawberries are generally divided into two categories: June bearing and ever bearing. June-bearing varieties produce a single harvest over a two- to three-week period (typically in May-June) while ever-bearing varieties can produce fruit throughout the summer and even sometimes in winter when conditions are suitable.
There are lots of great varieties from which to choose. Two of our favorite choices for June-bearing varieties in San Diego are Sequoia and Chandler. The latter is great for coastal areas.
Pick a sunny spot for your strawberries. Growing them is easy in the ground or in containers. When planting in the ground, first incorporate 1 to 2 inches of compost, well-rotted manure (never use raw manure in the garden) or worm castings into the first 6 to 12 inches of soil. Once you’ve amended the soil, space plants 10 to 12 inches apart; dense planting encourages more pests and disease. Cover the roots with soil, but make sure the crown sits just above the soil line. Water the bare-root strawberries immediately after planting, and keep them moist throughout the growing season.
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