First, address weeds in the beds. Either remove them by hand if the problem is minimal or use an herbicide as needed. Next, mow the strawberry beds at least two-inches tall. The goal is to remove the leaves while protecting the crowns of the plants. Cultivate between the rows to remove any rogue plants that will compete for water and nutrients from the desired plants.
The next step is to fertilize the plants with about 3/4 to 1 pound (3 to 4 cups) of a complete fertilizer such as 13-13-13 (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) or an equivalent on each 25 feet of row. If a soil test shows adequate levels of phosphorus and potassium, use 3/4 pound (1.5 cups) of a 16-0-0 (nitrate of soda) fertilizer per 25 feet of row instead. If nitrate of soda is unavailable, use the lawn fertilizer that contains about 30% nitrogen such as a 30-0-3, 28-0-3 or something similar. Make sure the lawn fertilizer does not contain a weed killer or preventer. These fertilizers should be used at the rate of 3/4 cup per 25 feet of row.
Finally, give the plants about an inch of water to soak the fertilizer into the rootzone. Ensure the beds are receiving at least one-inch of water per week during the summer either from the rain or supplemental irrigation. Weeding regularly throughout the summer is important to reduce competition and give the strawberry plants the best chance for a productive fruiting season next summer. (Cynthia Domenghini)