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Growing Strawberry Plants

How To Grow Strawberries In Raised Beds, Pots, Containers

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by Helen
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You can easily grow your strawberry patch regardless of size if you have a backyard garden.  But, even if you don't have a garden, fret not, as you can still grow strawberries in containers or pots on a balcony or even a windowsill.  These juicy and delicious fruits are an excellent addition to your garden or homegrown produce.  You can cultivate a bountiful harvest by ensuring optimal growing conditions and selecting a suitable variety of strawberries to grow in your region.  Here are some helpful tips to get you started growing your own delicious strawberries in your garden or at home.

When I started my strawberry patch, I started with only a few plants.  I have since propagated the strawberry plant runners in different raised garden beds.

Types of Strawberries

If you have a backyard garden, big or small, you can grow strawberries. Even if you do not have a garden, you can still grow strawberries. They are an excellent fruit to cultivate. Strawberries thrive when you have optimal conditions and choose the suitable variety to grow in your region. Here are some tips for growing delicious strawberries in your garden.

Despite their name, everbearing strawberries do not produce fruit throughout the growing season. However, they typically produce fruit 2-3 times during a growing season, usually in early spring or summer and then again in late summer or early fall. I have a few everbearing strawberries in my patch, which have been a great addition to my garden.

I grow June Bearing Strawberries, produced only once during the growing season. Despite this, they are highly productive. Although I also have a few Everbearing strawberries, most of my plants are June Bearing, and I am pleased with their yield each year.

How To Grow Strawberries

Planting Strawberries

I buy my plants from a local nursery.  It is essential to choose the right plants for the area you live in.  You can see which strawberries are recommended for Austin, Central Texas.  Early planting is one of the keys to a successful strawberry harvest.  Planting early in the season gives the plants ample time to establish themselves and develop a robust root system before the hot summer months.  This can lead to better fruit production and larger berries.

If you want to grow strawberries, plant them early in the season.  When digging a hole, ensure it's deep enough to accommodate the roots without bending them.  Plant your strawberry plants in rows and stagger them from row to row.  However, keep the crown of the plant at ground level.  While planting, leave enough space between the plants – about 20 inches apart.

Growing Conditions

When planting strawberry plants, choosing a spot that receives 6-10 hours of sunlight daily is essential. The soil should be well-drained and loamy, and raised beds are ideal as they drain water more efficiently.

Strawberries prefer slightly acidic soil, so adding coffee grounds or an acid fertilizer can help make the soil more acidic. It's best to avoid planting strawberries in an area where tomatoes, peppers, or eggplants have grown recently.

Since strawberries are sprawling plants, they require sufficient space to spread out. The main plant will produce new plants or runners, producing more runners or plants. It's essential to provide enough room for them to grow. To keep the runners in the main area, they can be placed back into the patch before roots develop. Removing the poor-performing ones is recommended if the plants become too crowded, or you can give extra plants to friends and neighbors.

Caring for Strawberries

Growing strawberry plants requires approximately one inch of water per week. However, when the plants start producing runners or flowers, they need more water. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that your strawberries are adequately watered. Using mulch can help keep the soil moist and prevent weed growth.   

It's essential to keep weeds under control in your strawberry patch. To prevent weed growth, you can use straw around the plants. The straw controls the weeds, helps retain moisture, and prevents mold.

Once the harvesting season ends and plants stop growing, apply a layer of compost on top of the strawberry plants. Cover the strawberry plants with a layer of hay to protect them during winter when the temperature cools down or after the first few frosts. Although it's not necessary to cover them, you can leave maple and oak leaves on top of the plants for the winter. 

Remove the mulch in the spring after the danger of frost has passed.  Pruning strawberries in the spring is essential for any gardener looking to cultivate a bountiful harvest. Pruning helps remove any dead or damaged leaves and runners, improving the plant's overall health and encouraging new growth.

Growing Strawberries

Common Strawberry Pests

Slugs and snails can be troublesome in the strawberry patch, as they often nibble on the fruit. One can use slug and snail bait to control their population. However, it may also be necessary to use row covers or nets to keep birds and squirrels from getting to the strawberries. Birds, in particular, can be quite a challenge to deal with when protecting the strawberries.

Harvesting Your Strawberries

We love having homegrown strawberries! My youngest grandson loves to help me harvest them. They are much better than store-bought berries – sweet, delicious, and flavorful. After blossoming, the strawberries will be ready to harvest in about 4-6 weeks. Remember to pick them off the stem and leave the green cap on. The harvesting time will last around three weeks.

Place the unwashed berries in the refrigerator to keep the harvested strawberries fresh. They will last for 3-5 days. You can wash and freeze them if you need to store them longer.

Growing Strawberries

Strawberries are a fruit-bearing perennial plant belonging to the Rosaceae family. They are commonly grown in many temperate regions worldwide due to their sweet and juicy berries. These plants can produce fruit for multiple years, with some varieties lasting up to five years or more. 

However, to achieve this, they require proper care and maintenance. This includes providing them with well-draining soil, adequate sunlight, and consistent moisture. Regular pruning and fertilization are essential to maintain the plant's health and promote fruit production. With the right conditions, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of delicious strawberries year after year.

Growing strawberries can be a fun and educational activity for kids. It teaches them the importance of patience, care, and responsibility. Plus, they get to enjoy the sweet fruits of their labor! Children can help plant the strawberry plants, water them, and watch as they grow and produce delicious strawberries. Harvesting the strawberries can be fun for the whole family, and kids can learn about growing and caring for plants. It's a great way to interest children in gardening and healthy eating.

How To Grow Strawberries

How Long Does It Take to Grow Strawberries?

Strawberry plants have the potential to produce fruit in their first year, but they may need to reach their fullest potential. To establish a reliable and long-standing perennial crop, it may be necessary to sacrifice some of the first season's harvest.

After planting, removing any flower buds that appear in the first few weeks is recommended. This will encourage the plant to produce leaves and roots, which will provide the necessary energy and strength for the flowers to be pollinated and for the fruit to develop. If you intend to grow strawberries as a perennial crop, it is best to pinch off most, if not all, of the flowers in the first year. This will help the plant establish and encourage runner production for a more abundant crop the following year.

Your original strawberry plants will produce fruit for up to four or five years, but the yield may reduce significantly after three years. However, as the plants produce runners, you will have new plants yearly. Remove the oldest plants every two to three years to maintain this production and keep your plants healthy.

Limited Space Gardening

If you have a small garden, you can grow strawberries in containers. You can use strawberry pots or deep pots with openings for each plant or grow them in a hanging container. You can plant up to four strawberry plants per square foot in a square foot garden.

Companion plants are great for strawberries. They grow well next to peas, beans, borage, asparagus, spinach, and lettuce. However, you should avoid planting them near cabbage, tomatoes, and peppers. These are my top tips for growing sweet strawberries in your backyard. Do you have any tried and true tips for growing great strawberries? If so, please share them in the comment below.

Note:  Strawberries are one of the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables that are commonly contaminated with pesticides. As such, it is recommended to choose organic strawberries whenever possible to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals. If you make your own baby food, this is even more essential.

Final Thoughts: How To Easily Grow Strawberries

In conclusion, growing strawberries is a fun and rewarding experience. You can enjoy a bountiful harvest of sweet and delicious strawberries with the right growing conditions, care, and maintenance. Whether you have a large or small garden or even no garden at all, you can still grow these versatile and flavorful fruits. With the tips in this guide, you can start your strawberry patch and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Happy growing!

READ NEXT:  The Best Way To Store Fresh Fruit and Vegetables For Longevity

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