Tip from the test garden

Planting strawberries

To grow strawberries in garden beds, choose a sunny spot with rich, well-drained soil. Then follow one of the two methods described below. Set out plants this month in mild climates; in cold climates, wait until late April or May to plant.

On hills. Rake the soil into long mounds about 6 inches high, then space plants 12 to 14 inches apart. Mulch with straw and remove runners as they appear. This method is best for everbearing varieties; it produces a small yield of big berries on large plants.

In matted rows. Set plants on level ground 18 to 24 inches apart, in rows 48 inches apart. Allow runners to root in all directions, forming dense mats of plants; trim off those that grow beyond the boundaries.  This method usually results in a higher yield of large