To prepare for strawberries give the soil a good work over with the addition of well-rotted cow manure and compost. Strawberries are one of the first fruits to blossom, the flowers and fruit are small they can easily be damaged by frost, so they must be planted in a frost free position. They are best planted in a warm north easterly position.
Strawberries will not grow in waterlogged clay soils, so it is important that the soil is friable. To help break up heavy soil, mix in some gypsum and compost when you are first preparing the garden bed. Raise the soil in long mounds so that the strawberry plant’s root system is at least 4 to 6 inches above the natural ground level and 30cm apart.
Never plant in ground where Tomatoes or Potatoes were previously grown, because of the susceptibility of strawberries to Verticillium Wilt Disease, which is often carried over in the soil in which these crops were grown.
Water is the most important factor in growing large, juicy, sweet tasting strawberries.
Place a mulch of pea straw around the base of the strawberry plants to help keep the moisture in the ground, control the weeds and keep the fruit from laying directly on the soil.
Alternatively strawberry plants can be planted through black plastic. This reduces both weeds and watering while keeping the fruit clean. For small gardens strawberries can be grown in baskets and tubs. For best results use a premium potting mix and liquid feeding after plants are established. Strawberries need to be harvested regularly every 3-4 days as this enables new fruit to develop to full maturity. At the end of fruiting, trim of old leaves and clean up any mouldy fruit still attached.