Strawberries do best in full sun but can cope with partial shade. The site must be sheltered from both wind & frost. Ideally fresh ground is desirable i.e. ground that has not cropped potatoes or strawberries within the last 10-15 years.
Plant at a distance of 12-18in (30-45cm) apart, and 2ft (60cm) between the rows. When creating the bed, mix in a good dose of compost or well-rotted manure to enrich the soil. Create a small mound in the middle of the bed/planting hole and spread the roots out evenly over it. Ensure that the crown is level with the soil then replace and carefully firm the soil around the roots. Water in well.
This takes place as soon as fruiting has finished. Cut off all leaves to approx. 3in above the crown, also remove any
unwanted runners. For ever-bearing varieties, simply remove the old leaves.
Due to their low-growing habit, strawberries run the risk of being swamped with weeds. Ensure this does not happen by regular light hoeing – avoiding the crown areas. During flowering period, if frost is forecast, it will be necessary to protect the plants. Water in a general purpose fertiliser i.e. Growmore, in March.
Once this is done, apply a mulch such as well-rotted manure or compost in May. Ensure that all weeds are removed & that the soil is moist before mulching. Mulching helps to keep the soil cool & moist as well as keep down the weeds. Bear in mind that it is a good idea to cover the plants when the fruit is beginning to ripe to keep birds at bay.
Most varieties produce runners, these can be removed or allowed to grow and root, creating a mat of plants. Allowing the mat to develop will result in overall higher crop yield than leaving them as individual plants, but maintenance is more laborious.