I live in central SC and would like to establish a successful strawberry bed. It’s hot and humid here in the summer - warmer than Atlanta or Charleston. Most days are in the 90’s and many years we have a generous share of triple digit days. Rain tends to be infrequent from May through July most years . We do get short bouts of freezing weather in the winter, but the ground doesn’t freeze. My land is also dense red clay, except where I’ve amended it for years, though I’m a stone’s throw away from where the soil is sand. The summer sun is strong here, and often plants that say “full sun” really prefer filtered sunlight or afternoon shade when grown here.
This year I ordered Chandler, Jewel, Evie 2, and Monterey from Nourse. That gives me 75 each of Day Neutral and June Bearing varieties to experiment with and try to succeed in having a crop next spring. I really did not like the advice given to me by a local nursery which said that berries are an annual plant here and that I should feed them heavily with a fertilizer high in phosphorous (along with recommending a brand on their shelf that was 53% P), pinch off any runners that started to form so that they would put their energy into blooming, and dispose of the plants at the end of the season.
I have tasteless wild strawberries growing in many places in the yard and they stay green all winter. So I hope there is a way to get tasty cultivars to thrive here, too. If anyone has ideas or experience growing strawberries in similar conditions, please tell me about it. Full sun, filtered, afternoon shade? In ground or elsewhere? Do they really need super doses of phosphorous? What about rain gutter growing? I don’t know anything about that. All advice is appreciated because I’d really like to get these established before the hot days set in for the duration.