Q: Can strawberries be planted in the fall?
A: Strawberries are best planted in the spring, and for that reason most nurseries carry them only at that time. You can start preparing the strawberry bed this fall, however, by removing weeds and sod. Then add organic matter, such as rotted manure or compost, to the planting area. Cover with black plastic until planting time in the spring to eliminate weed growth so your newly planted strawberries will get off to the best possible start.
Large, succulent 'Quinalt' strawberries are fine for eating fresh. The everbearing plants fruit from late spring to summer, and even unrooted runners in pots will produce. Because 'Quinalt' is self-pollinating, you won't need a lot of plants for a good yield.
'Jewel' shines whether you're picking strawberries for eating fresh, canning or preserving. This variety, developed by Cornell University, starts producing large, sweet, firm fruits in June.
Recommended for zones 3 to 10, 'Tribute' is a sweet, aromatic, day-neutral variety. Day-neutral strawberries fruit from summer into fall, while everbearers produce 2 or 3 main crops a year.
If your strawberries are plagued by fungus, try disease-resistant 'Allstar', a June-bearing variety with old-fashioned strawberry flavor. The big, juicy fruits are good for eating out of hand or for freezing.
Sweet 'Earliglow' strawberries are hardy in zones 4 to 9 and adapt well from Southern gardens to the Northeast. These early, June-bearing plants resist leaf scorch and verticillium wilt. The berries are delicious fresh, frozen or made into preserves.
With its high sugar content, everbearing 'Albion' is an ideal dessert berry. These day-neutral plants are good for organic gardeners, thanks to their resistance to verticillium wilt, phytophthora rot and anthracnose crown rot.