When Do You Plant Strawberries In Nc
How do you grow strawberries in North Carolina? Strawberries are a perennial crop that we treat as an annual crop, meaning that we plant new plants every year. Strawberry season in North Carolina starts around the end of April and beginning of May, but we start growing the strawberries in the summer!

In July and August: we get the field and the soil ready by adding fertilizer, tilling and preparing a rich seed bed.

In September: we use a machine pulled by a tractor to make raised beds for the strawberry plants, install drip irrigation tape to water plants, and cover the beds with plastic for winter protection. In between the raised beds, we plant grass to prevent erosion and to hold nutrients.

In October: we plant plugs, which are just plants that have grown a little already, in two rows on each raised bed. There are approximately 17,500 strawberry plants per acre and at Carrigan Farms and we have about five acres of strawberries. By planting on raised beds, the plants grow faster because the black plastic retains heat and helps root growth. During the months of October and November, the plants start to grow leaves and increase in size.

In mid-November: the weather cools down in North Carolina, so that there are no more days where it is hot enough for the plants to grow and the plants become dormant. The strawberry plants remain dormant all winter long until the weather warms up in February.

In mid-March: the strawberry plants will start to flower! Each flower has the potential to become a strawberry. Strawberry blossoms are vulnerable to freezing temperatures, so when a frost is in the forecast, the farmers have to overhead irrigate the plants. As water freezes on the blossoms, heat is released. This small fraction of heat is enough to keep the blossoms alive through the frost.

In general the “critical time” for strawberry plants is between late March and the beginning of May. During that time of year, farmers in our local area pay very close attention to the weather and often have to stay up all night irrigating and monitoring the sprinklers.

In our area, Strawberry season usually begins the last week in April and lasts until about May 20th. The plants like cool nights, 50 to 55 degrees, and mild days, 72 to 76 degrees. Once the temperatures get above about 80 degrees the strawberry plant won’t make any more flowers, which means no more strawberries.

When it is strawberry season at Carrigan Farms, our strawberries are 3,000 miles fresher than at the grocery store. : How do you grow strawberries in North Carolina?

Do strawberries grow well in North Carolina?

There are two types of strawberries, June-bearers and ever-bearers. June-bearer types are better suited to our climate. These varieties bear most of their fruit in the spring. Galetta, Chandler, Camarosa, Earliglow and Jewel are June-bearer varieties that will grow well in North Carolina.

When can I plant strawberries in South Carolina?

Strawberries ripening on the plant. Barbara H. Smith © 2018 HGIC Clemson Extension Soil & Site: Strawberries are shallow-rooted and grow best in sandy loam soils that drain well, at a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. Clay soils drain poorly and are difficult to manage.

  • In the year prior to planting, destroy all perennial weeds.
  • Improving Soil Structures and Fertility: Soil structures and fertility may be improved by incorporating organic matter like leaves, chopped straw, compost, rotted, sawdust, or grass clippings in the fall.
  • Digging, rototilling, or plowing these materials into the soil in the fall, the organic material will be well decomposed by planting time in the early spring.
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For more information, please refer to HGIC 1655, Soil Conditioning a Establishing a Successful Gardening Foundation, Soil Testing: Submit a soil sample for nematode assay if there is a history of plant pest nematodes in the planting area. Do not plant strawberries if sting nematodes are present.

  • However, strawberries are resistant to southern root-knot nematode.
  • A soil analysis for plant nutrients and lime should also be taken several months before planting.
  • For more information, please refer to HGIC 1652, Soil Testing,
  • Fertilization: Before planting, amend the soil according to the recommendations of a soil test.

Add any lime amendments three to four months before planting to allow the lime’s neutralization effect to occur. Always apply lime based on the soil analysis results and till the soil to a depth of 6 inches. If new plants appear light green and do not grow well, side-dress with nitrogen about one month after planting.

Apply 3 pounds of calcium nitrate per 100 linear feet of row. Always apply fertilizer to the plants when the foliage is dry, and gently sweep the plants with a broom immediately following the application. Alternatively, overhead watering can be used to wash the fertilizer from the leaves. In late winter of the second and subsequent years, broadcast 4 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer over the bed per 100 feet of row.

Planting: Two very different production systems are used in South Carolina: the matted row system and the annual hill system. In the matted row system, plants are set out in the spring of year one, and they produce fruit in the spring of year two. This system works best in Upstate South Carolina, where strawberry fruit production may continue for several years on the same plants.

  1. The annual hill system is preferred in the Sandhills and Coastal Plain because anthracnose disease usually destroys the matted row plantings before producing fruit.
  2. In this system, plants are set out in the fall (Mid September to Mid October) and fruit the next spring.
  3. The planting is usually discarded after the crop is harvested.

Only use anthracnose resistant plants when planting the matted row system in the Sandhills and Coastal Plain. For instance, ‘Sweet Charlie’ is resistant, while ‘Chandler’ is very susceptible to anthracnose. The depth of planting for strawberry is critical.

The crown of the plant needs to be slightly above the soil line, with the roots ¼-inch below the soil surface. Due to the shallow-rooted nature of strawberry plants, it is essential to avoid bending the roots, otherwise known as “J” rooting. Matted Row System (low input): The matted row system involves planting the mother plants 2 feet apart, the first spring, and letting runners fill the bed during the first summer.

Remove the flowers the first year so that no fruit is produced until the second year. When transplanting in the spring, the temperature should be 40 to 50 ºF; a spring frost generally will not harm new strawberry plants. If the plants arrive early and cannot be planted immediately, store them in a refrigerator.

When soil moisture conditions are ideal for planting, layout two rows that are 4 feet apart, each of the rows should be 2 feet from the edge of the bed. Set the plants 2 feet apart in the rows at the correct depth, so the base of the crown is at the soil level. Press the soil firmly around the roots and water them in.

Water is essential for establishment. Beds should be kept moist throughout this period of development. Flowers will appear a couple of weeks after the new plants begin to grow. Remove these flowers. This improves establishment and channels food reserves into the production of vigorous runners. Strawberries growing using the annual hill system. Barbara H. Smith © 2018 HGIC Clemson Extension Annual Hill System (high input): In the central and coastal regions of South Carolina (and during normal winters in western South Carolina), strawberry plants can be set in the fall and harvested the next spring.

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This reduces the danger of diseases destroying the crop. The varieties Chandler and Camarosa are by far the best for the hill system, but other varieties will produce fair results. Plants are set 12 inches apart in the row and 12 inches apart between rows on beds that contain two rows. The beds should be 6 inches high at the shoulder, 8 inches high in the center, and 26 inches wide.

An aisle 22 inches wide between beds provides a place to walk. If the planting is free from anthracnose, it may live for several years and be managed as a matted row system. Set plants from Sept.15 to Nov.15. In the Coastal Plain (usually, October is the best month).

Plant earlier in the upstate (usually September is best). Freshly dug plants are planted and watered frequently for the first week after planting. Potted plants can also be used, and these require less watering to establish. After removing the plants, use a cover crop to protect the soil from erosion, capture any nutrients left over from the crop, and contribute of organic material to the soil.

For more information, please refer to HGIC 1252 Cover Crops. Watering: Strawberries require moisture during the following “critical” times:

When plants are set and during dry periods following setting Before and during harvest when berry size is developing After renovation, as needed, to encourage new runners In late August, September, and early October when fruit buds are forming for the next season’s crop.

If rainfall is insufficient during these times, water the plantings weekly to wet the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Strawberries need 1 to 1½ inches of water per week. Weeding & Mulching: During the growing season, weeds are best controlled by mulching, hand-pulling, hoeing, and tilling.

In vigorous plantings, cut runners that grow into the aisle. Periodically check the planting for the development of weeds that need to be removed. Mulch the beds with a 1- to 2- inch layer of straw (wheat, oat, rye, pine). One bale will cover 100 square feet. Do not use grass clippings to avoid smothering the strawberry plants.

Remove the mulch in the spring when signs of new growth appear. Rake most of the mulch off the tops of the plants. The strawberry plants will grow up through the remaining mulch, which will help keep the berries from getting soiled. A good layer of mulch helps conserve moisture, slows the spread of anthracnose, and keeps the fruit clean.

Renovation or Renewing the Planting: Matted row strawberry plantings may bear fruit for more than one season. Plantings may be kept for two, or possibly three to four, fruiting seasons when properly renovated. The main purpose of renovation is to keep plants from becoming too crowded within the beds. Do not attempt to renew strawberry beds infested with weeds, diseases, or insects; it is better to start over with a new planting.

To renew a planting, follow these steps:

Take a soil test and apply what the report recommends. Mow over the top of the plants to remove the leaves, using a rotary lawnmower with the blade set to 4 inches. Avoid damaging the plant’s crowns while mowing. Rake the clippings away from plants and dispose of them without damaging the crowns. Cut back rows to a 12 to 18-inch wide strip using a cultivator, rototiller, or hoe Thin the plants, leaving only the most healthy and vigorous. Plants should be about 6 inches apart in all directions.

Care After Renovation: Keep the beds weed-free and irrigate if rainfall is insufficient. Strawberries need 1 to 1½ inches of water per week. Apply 3-4 pounds of calcium nitrate per 100 feet of row between mid-August and mid-September. Remember to apply the fertilizer when the foliage is dry, and gently sweep the leaves free of fertilizer. Freshly picked, ripe, strawberries. Barbara H. Smith © 2018 HGIC Clemson Extension

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Where does NC rank in strawberry production?

Spring in the mountains means fresh produce for days. We’re pumped for strawberry season, especially since we learned some super cool facts about the strawberry industry here in the Tar Heel State.

NC strawberries are bona fide: the luscious red fruits are the NC’s official state berry, When it comes to strawberry production, North Carolina ranks No.3 in the country for most strawberries, bested only by California and Florida.NC primarily produces three varieties of strawberries: Camarosa, Chandler, and Sweet Charlie. Harvest season typically runs from mid-April to early June.Coolest of all? Nearly all the fruit produced in NC is sold direct to consumers at farm stands, local supermarkets, and U-pick spots.

Want to get your hands on these scrumptious berries? Swing by the WNC Farmers Market or peep these area U-Pick spots.

Obermiller’s Strawberry Farm (621 Allstar Ln., Hendersonville) New Castle Farm (2812 Clingman Rd., Ronda)

How long is strawberry season in South Carolina?

Strawberries – The freshest berries are available April through June. Like all berries, when you buy too many, freeze for later use.

What is the best everbearing strawberry for the South?

Most Popular Strawberry Varieties – Performing consistently well from the East to central Midwest, Fragaria ‘Allstar’ (Junebearing Strawberry) is a midseason cultivar producing some of the largest strawberries. Glossy and firm, they are sweet and juicy. ‘Allstar’ is highly resistant to red stele, with intermediate resistance to Verticillium wilt. Fragaria ‘Chandler’ (Junebearing Strawberry) is an early season heavily-cropping cultivar producing some of the largest strawberries. Glossy and firm, they vary from being long and wedge-shaped to large and conical. They have an exceptional flavor. Great fresh, they also freeze very well. A good variety for beginners, Fragaria ‘Earliglow’ (Junebearing Strawberry) is an early season cultivar producing firm, glossy, medium-sized, deep red berries. Conical and symmetrical, they have great, sweet flavor. Good resistance to red stele and intermediate resistance to Verticillium wilt. Fragaria ‘Fort Laramie’ (Everbearing Strawberry) produces a first crop in spring and another one in late summer or fall. Five-petaled white flowers adorned with yellow centers give way to firm, bright red, juicy berries rich with an exceptional aroma. A great choice for fresh eating or processing. This variety enjoys good disease resistance. Fragaria ‘Jewel’ (Junebearing Strawberry) is a late midseason cultivar producing large, glossy strawberries of great quality and flavor. Five-petaled white flowers adorned with yellow centers appear in early spring and give way to large red berries which ripen around the month of June. Considered by many to be the best everbearing variety, Fragaria ‘Ozark Beauty’ (Everbearing Strawberry) produces a first crop in spring and another one in late summer or fall. The red berries are large, luscious, very sweet with excellent flavor. This strawberry enjoys good disease resistance. One of the top strawberry varieties for over 20 years, award-winning Fragaria × ananassa ‘Honeoye’ (Junebearing Strawberry) is an early season heavily-cropping cultivar with good flavor and texture. Five-petaled white flowers adorned with yellow centers appear in early spring and give way to large, firm, bright red berries which ripen around the month of June. Performing well in a wide range of climates, Fragaria x ananassa ‘Seascape’ (Everbearing Strawberry) is a day neutral variety. It is not affected by day length, allowing for continuous fruiting from late spring until first frost – anytime temperatures range between 35-85ºF (0-29ºC). One of the heirloom strawberry varieties, Fragaria x ananassa ‘Sparkle’ (Junebearing Strawberry) is a late season cultivar producing medium-sized, sweet, bright red berries, which are flavorful. Excellent choice for gardeners in northern climates. A vigorous plant with good disease resistance.

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