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How to Grow Strawberries

Updated on April 14, 2017
JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

To garden is to lose one's self in the earth while gifting yourself and your family with wholesome goodness from your own backyard.

Tips on Growing Strawberries In Your Garden

Few things beat the taste of fresh strawberries from the garden. From the moment you bring that shiny nugget of goodness close to your mouth to the moment it touches your tongue and taste buds, the burst of flavor you taste cannot compare to anything you purchase from the grocery store.

Strawberries are relatively easy to grow and they don't take a lot of space. In fact, you can grow strawberries in a variety of ways like a hanging planter, a strawberry planter, in a separate bed, or in a raised garden bed. We explore the best way for you decide how to grow your own strawberries.

Check out the two recipes near the end of the this article using our garden fresh strawberries.

Varieties of Strawberries

Your Basic Choices

There are three basic types of strawberries to choose from: June Bearing, Everbearing and Day Neutral.

June Bearing strawberries are very popular because they produce basically one large crop each spring in a short two to three week period. There are several varieties of them, broken out into early, mid-season and late types. They are the favorite because they generally bear the largest fruits. However, these plants produce the most runners, so they also need the most space.

Everbearing strawberries have bursts of production two to three periods throughout the year. The name is slightly misleading.

Day Neutral strawberries will produce more continuously throughout the growing season. Everbearing and day neutral strawberries are preferred for smaller spaces, the tradeoff is smaller fruits.

Where to Plant Strawberries

Garden or Container

It has become very popular to grow strawberries in some type of container. You can also grow strawberries in a hanging basket or container on the ground. In particular, a self watering container is a great way to grow them on your patio, or even for apartment living you can turn your balcony into your garden.

For the gardener with room in the back yard, strawberries are set in a bed of some sort. Since they are usually grown as perennials (sometimes in southern areas they are grown as annuals), you need to set aside a bed for them to be grown in for at least 3 to 4 years.

There are about 3 different bedding approaches that vary with the type of strawberry variety that is being grown. These include:

Matted Row Systems

Used for June-bearing cultivars, the strawberry plants are spaced eighteen to thirty inches apart.

Spaced-Rows

This keeps a smaller number of daughter plants that come from the mother plants. which are set 18 to 30 inches apart. The daughter plants are kept at least four inches apart, with any other daughter plants removed.

Strawberry Hills

Preferred for day-neutral and everbearing strawberries. No daughter plants are kept, only the original plants, which encourages more growth in the original plants.

For the patio gardener, you can find pots that have plenty of room for many plants and sit on your patio or balcony.

Notice the mulch on the ground.
Notice the mulch on the ground.

Preparing the Soil for Strawberry Plants

Mulching Strawberries Is Very Important

Prepare the soil with a generous 2 or 3 inches of compost. Remember that strawberry plants are perennials, so you don't get another chance to prepare the soil for a few years.

Work in about one pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer for each 100 square feet, and water in thoroughly.

Set the plants so the crow is just at ground level (assuming you are planting bare root plants, otherwise just keep the same soil level as the potted plant you are transplanting.)

Mulch is a key component of a strawberry bed because you can't just till the bed under every year. We use leaves that have been put though the shredder. Straw is another good type of mulch. Put down a layer of 2-3 inches to help keep the weeds down, which will help keep the fruit off the soil. The mulch layer will also help keep the soil temperature cool for good production. You may consider planting your strawberries in a raised garden bed.

Our early spring project a few years ago was to create a new strawberry bed because we had started asparagus in the strawberry bed and since the asparagus did so well, it was interfering with the berries; thus a solo strawberry bed. We also transplanted the plants that were established in addition to filling in with new ones.

Hanging Strawberry Plants

There are a variety of ways to grow strawberries without a garden bed which is great news for people living in apartments, condos, or town homes to enjoy the taste of home grown strawberries. You can use a container to grow them, and it's particularly easy to grow them in a self watering container like the Earth Box system, but even that requires some floor space that may not be available if you want to grow plants on the balcony or patio.

There are several types of hanging planters that can be used to grow strawberries. One popular grow kit includes not only the planter but the strawberry plants to get you going right away.

Choose the appropriate variety for your container. Since a container won't allow the normal style of growing strawberries, where the runners are encouraged to grow and root to start new plants every year, it would be best to grow one of the Everbearing variety of strawberries, as opposed to Junebearing strawberries as these don't try to put out as many runners. And you should prune off the runners that are sent out, which will encourage the plants to produce more berries.

With a hanging strawberry planter, you can enjoy strawberries regardless of where you live.

Upside Down Strawberry Planter

Originally known as the Topsy Turvy Strawberry planter, it has been renamed since the inventors at Felknor Ventures have sold the marketing rights of this planter to another company.

This hanging strawberry planter allows you to plant up to 15 individual plants. It hangs in a fashion similar to the original Topsy Turvey Tomato Planter, but the plants are actually embedded in the side of the planter, so the strawberries are not actually upside down, but they hang sidewards, with the new growth hanging down.

This is a great solution for growing plants on the balcony, but as with most of these hanging planters, especially for this one with a lot of plants, these need to be hung from a strong support of some sort, as they get to weighing a lot with all the soil and especially water once they growth gets under way.

Any of these make a great solution to growing strawberries in your balcony or patio. And once you've tasted fresh strawberries from your garden, you'll wonder why you didn't try it before.

Health Characteristic

Strawberries contain flavonoids. Dip them in melted dark chocolate and you get a healthy double dose!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Now that you've got strawberries growing in your garden bed or in your containers, you'll need a way to use them! This is a very popular recipe that everyone should have.

  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 55 min
  • Ready in: 1 hour
  • Yields: Makes 2-3 dozen berries

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups (10-ounce package) Hershey's White Chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening (no butter - margarine - spread - or oil)
  • 1 cup Hershey's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 4 cups (2 pints) fresh strawberries rinsed patted dry and chilled

Instructions

  1. Cover tray with wax paper.
  2. Place white chips and 1 tablespoon shortening in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high (100%) 1 minute; stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. If necessary, microwave on high an additional 10 seconds at a time, just until smooth when stirred.
  3. Holding the berry by the top (green leaves), dip 2/3 of each strawberry into white chip mixture; shake gently to remove excess. Place on prepared tray; refrigerate until coating is firm, as least 30 minutes.
  4. Repeat microwave procedure with chocolate chips (I prefer dark chocolate) In a clean microwave-safe bowl. Dip lower 1/3 of each berry into chocolate mixture. Refrigerate on tray until firm. Enjoy!
5 stars from 1 rating of White & Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Using Fresh Strawberries - A Wholesome Breakfast or Snack

Our garden strawberries tend to be a bit smaller than those you purchase at the store but they are way more delicious! Here is a great breakfast or healthy snack dish.

Greek yogurt (I use Fage) sprinkled with shelled walnuts (from my father-in-law), drizzled with locally grown honey (from our Farmers Market) and topped with fresh strawberries (compliments of our garden).

Every bite is healthy and tastes that way!

Have You Grown Strawberries at Home?

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    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 3 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @Countryluthier: Well I hope it does! There have been years when we also had meager results, but I always put hope in the next year. Best of luck!

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 3 years ago from Virginia

      So looking forward to reaping lots O strawberries but, sadly, last attempt produced meager results. This lens may just help!

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @notsuperstitious1: So happy they did well for you!

    • notsuperstitious1 profile image

      Edith Rose 4 years ago from Canada

      Just started growing the "Everbearing Strawberries" this year. What we produced were delicious. Will have much more next year.

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

      I would like to give strawberries another go...last time I lost most of them to the birds. May cover them with netting to prevent the little marauders ; )

    • rob-hemphill profile image

      Rob Hemphill 4 years ago from Ireland

      I used to grow strawberries, home grown ones always taste better.

    • jayavi profile image

      jayavi 4 years ago

      I love strawberries. Valuable instructions. Thanks for sharing.

    • CoolFool83 profile image

      CoolFool83 4 years ago

      I love organic strawberries.

    • profile image

      Bartukas 4 years ago

      Very useful lens thank you!

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      I haven't grown strawberries but I would love to have the space to try.

    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 4 years ago from Minnesota

      I grew strawberries one year. Got them from a friend... we dug up her extras. They were delicious the first year. Weeds took over the second. Also, I bought some expensive potted Alpine strawberries from a green house. Planted them in a spot and... the dogs found them to be quite comfortable, so they did not survive... :) At least the grocery store still sells em...

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @rattie lm: I did not get a lot of strawberries this year and they were medium sized, but did they pack a punch of flavor! So worth it but usually not enough to eliminate buying from the local Farmer's Market or (heaven forbid) the grocery store!

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 4 years ago

      I have the most amazing row of strawberries that are now spilling onto my flower garden. Last year they were small and succulent. This year they are so big and just as tasty. The trouble with growing your own is that you can never go back to the store-bought variety which are almost always tasteless.

    • GardenIdeasHub LM profile image

      GardenIdeasHub LM 4 years ago

      Your tips about growing strawberries are really great! I will be back to see what else you have to say.

    • profile image

      RuralFloridaLiving 4 years ago

      Never had much luck with strawberries, unfortunately...

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 5 years ago

      I have one in a hanginng pot with large strawberries. The next year, the fruits were way smaller. I am not sure why. Also some critter has been chomping on the fruits.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 5 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @KimGiancaterino: Love the idea of the pepper plant on the top!

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 5 years ago from Central Florida

      My mom grew them when I was a kid, but I've never tried. This has inspired me to try my hand at strawberry growing sometime.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      We've got a big strawberry pot now on its third year. There are two spots where they don't seem to grow, but the rest is going well, and the berries taste wonderful. I put a cayenne pepper plant in the top of the pot.

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 5 years ago from Kansas

      I've tried growing strawberries years ago and was not very successful. Something kept eating the fruit. Maybe I should try again and use a container. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 5 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @piarejuden: I look forward to your updates!

    • piarejuden profile image

      piarejuden 5 years ago

      I am terrible at gardening but with your tips and guidance...I am gonna give it a try and I will update on my progress!:)This is an awesome lens fir us newbies at gardening..thanks!

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 5 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @JoshK47: Thanks Josh!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Nice guide - thanks for sharing!

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 5 years ago

      No, but I'd like to try. It will be fun harvesting your own strawberries.

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 5 years ago

      Yes, I have grown strawberries, and always enjoyed going out and discovering the ripe fruits ready for the picking, hiding under the leaves!

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 5 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @BradKamer: Yum! We just ate 3 about an hour ago - pure goodness! Thanks Brad.

    • profile image

      BradKamer 5 years ago

      Yes. I grow the everbearer type. Only get a few every year and they get eaten right in the garden.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 5 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @Lindrus: I just had my first few strawberries and they melted in my mouth! Good Luck!

    • profile image

      Lindrus 5 years ago

      I haven't, but it reading your lens I'm now making plans to have some strawberries on my balcony! Yummy!

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Always wanted tgo grow my own strawberries - thanks for the good information! :>)

    • profile image

      RebeccaE 5 years ago

      yes I've grown strawberries at home, and they are wonderful, thanks for this lovely lens!

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 5 years ago

      I don't grow my own, but go to the farms here and get them fresh. They are so delicious. I also freeze them. Only thing is they get a bit mushy when they thaw, but they are still perfect with ice cream, or on waffles with whipped cream.

    • seabreezes profile image

      seabreezes 5 years ago

      i have lots of strawberry plants but I have more leaves than berries. I have various kinds that grow all year round but haven't found why my yield is so low. I have lots of hanging baskets and several large strawberry jars.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 5 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @senditondown: My pleasure - happy gardening! I wish you sweet (delicious!) success.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 5 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @AlphaChic: That's the kind of luck I have with parsley and cilantro, yet something tells me to try, try again! Good Luck!

    • senditondown profile image

      Senditondown 5 years ago from US

      Have grown them in a container, but now with your tips I think we'll try setting a bed aside for them. Thanks for the info.

    • MyFairLadyah2 profile image

      MyFairLadyah2 5 years ago

      Many years ago

      Strawberries I did grow

      This lens makes me want to try again!

    • LittleLindaPinda profile image

      Little Linda Pinda 5 years ago from Florida

      I love strawberries too. Thank you.

    • AlphaChic profile image

      AlphaChic 5 years ago

      I've tried, and, unfortunately, failed. Maybe I will try again after reading your lens!

    • compugraphd profile image

      compugraphd 5 years ago

      B"H

      I love strawberries, but I have to be honest, I have a brown thumb.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Yes, we actually have quite a lot of them every year. My son, he is 2, loves them and eats them as soon as they turn red.

    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 5 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      Yes, I have. I could eat my weight in strawberries. Thanks for a really nice lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      thanks for the information

    • sharioleary profile image

      Shari O'Leary 5 years ago from Minnesota

      When my son decided he wanted a garden more than 3 years ago, that was the first thing he said he wanted in his garden. We are still getting strawberries from the original plants.

    • Blkeeslar profile image

      Billie Keeslar 5 years ago from Mississippi

      I haven't but its on my list of things to do this Spring.

    • profile image

      VTsquared 5 years ago

      Yum. Great lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love this delicious lens :)

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 5 years ago from San Francisco

      When I had a garden, I did, many years ago. I love the tiny, juicy heirloom varieties best. They actually taste like strawberries! And they make the best jams.

    • hysongdesigns profile image

      hysongdesigns 5 years ago

      Nice selection of options. Personally I prefer to grow mine organically with manure, compost and mulch. When I had a large garden in TX I grew about 400 square feet of strawberry beds. Even with that many plants they didn't always make it to the kitchen to become jam as i would munch them for breakfast right in the patch!

    • profile image

      poutine 7 years ago

      added to the following lenses:

      Make Friends With Rutabagas Also Known As Turnips

    • profile image

      poutine 7 years ago

      Love strawberries and enjoyed your lens.

    • neophile profile image

      neophile 7 years ago

      Thanks for the info - it makes me think of my childhood when we used to have an abundance of wild strawberries and raspberries growing in the fields all around!

      How To Lay A Flagstone

    • AppalachianCoun profile image

      AppalachianCoun 8 years ago

      Great lens. Thank-you for the good tip of a self watering container.

    • Aquavel profile image

      Aquavel 8 years ago

      This is a great lens! I put links to your 2 strawberry growing lenses on my strawberry lens, which is about other aspects of the strawberry e.g. nutrition, symbolism, recipes. Your lenses complement my site and are wonderful and informative. Well done!

    • Lynx92 profile image

      Lynx92 9 years ago

      Great Lens! I give it 5 stars. I love strawberries too. If you get chance have a quick look at Growing Your Own Strawberries.

    • Mia-Breitfuss profile image

      Mia-Breitfuss 9 years ago

      I love strawbs. My grandparents planted a patch for me when I was a little kid. Now I am planting a patch with my little girl. Great lens.