This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
It has been published that strawberries can be had in December and other of the winter months with very little trouble. We very much doubt the fact. It is probable that with extra care, deep trenching, and preparing the bed, and by reason of a peculiar season, the vines will push and produce fruit; but it will be found a rule of exception - rather, certainty; and while we advise growers of strawberries South as well as elsewhere to give them the best of culture, we caution any one upon presuming on a certain crop during early and continued winter in any of our Southern States.
Late digging or plowing the ground in autumn will serve to destroy a large number of insects; and if the ground is left up rough, the winter's frosts and snows will act upon it to the full value of a light dressing of manure. Clean it first of all weeds, then plow or dig deep, one or two inches below the depth at which it has ever before been stirred. Clay grounds are especially benefited in this way. We have our-self changed the character of a piece of clay soil, by three winters of frost action, from being one in which we could not grow a single thing, not even beans, to one producing good potatoes and tomatoes.