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Albion everbearing strawberry plants , also known as day-neutral strawberries, produce sweet red berries from early summer to autumn.
While June-bearing strawberries produce one vigorous crop early in the growing season, everbearing varieties tend to taper off on the amount produced as the season goes on. The plants send out fewer runners than June-bearing cultivars, allowing the plant to use energy to produce multiple berry crops.
- Prepare a sunny spot with soil that drains well. Everbearing strawberries grow best with a soil pH no lower than 5.5 and no higher than 7.0. Contact the local extension office to perform soil testing several months before you plant the strawberries so any necessary amendments have time to work.
- Cut the bare roots of strawberry plants to 6 inches long before planting in spring after the risk of frost passes. Plant the strawberries so the crown is just above the soil, as burying the crown causes it to rot. Space the plants at least 5 inches apart with 42 inches between rows.
- Mulch around the berry plants with straw to keep the bed clean and retain moisture.
- Irrigate the strawberry plants just enough to keep the soil moist without soaking the plants. A total of 1 inch of water weekly between rain and watering is usually sufficient.
- Feed the plants with compost tea to encourage growth. Fertilize everbearing strawberries every two weeks, since they prefer more frequent smaller feedings. Too much fertilizer, especially early in the growing season, causes too much leaf growth and rotten or soft fruit.
- Pinch off the runners that develop during the first growing season to produce larger berries. Allowing runners to grow in subsequent years produces more but smaller berries. Continue pinching off the runners or allow them to grow, depending on your preferred size of berries.
- Pull weeds by hand as they appear to keep the everbearing strawberry plants healthy.
- Cover the strawberry plants with floating row covers if birds, mice and other pests eat the crop.
- Dig up old everbearing strawberry plants that become less vigorous or produce poorly. Plants are often replaced after three to five years.
- Harvest the strawberries as soon as they are ripe. Look for fully red berries that are soft to the touch. Check the berries at least every other day throughout the growing season, since berries ripen constantly. Letting ripe berries rot encourages insect and disease infestations.
- Bury the strawberry plants in 2 inches of mulch over the winter, especially in climates that drop below 20 F. The mulch prevents heaving of the strawberry root system due to frost. Pull back the mulch each spring when the temperatures rise.