Strawberries are one of the most common garden crops. They produce berries for years because they are easy to grow.

First, you should decide which type of strawberry plant you want to grow. They come in three varieties:

* June Bearing: the most common, producing one large crop per year, during a 2-3 week period in spring. June bearers produce lots of runners and flowers, and are subdivided into early, mid-season and late varieties. The fruits they produce are usually the largest of the three types
* Everbearing: these plants do not send out many runners, but they produce two or three intermittent crops during the fall, spring and summer. Their berries are generally smaller than june bearing
* Day Neutral: these plants are similar to the everbearing variety, in that they produce small berries, albeit throughout the growing season (and not intermittently).

You should choose june bearing plants if you have ample space for them, while everbearing and day neutral types are best for growing strawberries indoors.

Always bear in mind that strawberries need a lot of sun, they should be exposed to sunlight for at least six hours a day. They prefer slightly acidic soil, with a pH from 5.8 to 6.3. A well drained sandy loam is the ideal setting.

Be aware that certain plants such as eggplants, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes carry a dangerous Verticillium that can cause your strawberry plant to rot. You should plant it far from the aforementioned vegetables.

Late fall is a good time to plant, during early spring: make sure that the soil is dry enough.

Success depends on many factors, but the most important are making sure that your plant is disease free certified and choosing a plant with light-colored, healthy roots and large crowns.

It should be planted in a hole large enough to spread the roots, with a hilled center, and the crown placed at soil level: the roots should be spread down the central hill, and the plant should be buried only halfway up the crown.

Using organic matter (about 1 to 2 inches) ensures enough nutrients and is highly recommended.

Strawberry plants should be watered with about 1-2 inches of water per week. They should be taken care of especially from the early bloom to the end of harvest, since this is the time when its fruit is forming and needs more water.

In case, you began with organic soil, you have the beginning part covered: you should follow it up with a 10-10-10 balanced fertilizer (about 1 lb per 100 square feet) when planting, and again after the second harvest of everbearing and day neutrals (or after renovation of June bearers).

More is not necessarily better with fertilizers: too much will improve leaf growth at the expense of flowers (and fruit); fertilizing in the cold season is also not recommended since new growth will probably frost and reduce the plant's yield.

Fruit should be handled with care because it can easily be crushed. Always cut the stems and not pull on the fruit itself.

A good indicator of the ripeness is a deep-red color, but also depends on the species and the only safe method is a taste test.