While strawberries are generally easy to grow, there are a few things home gardeners should keep in mind to ensure a successful crop. Strawberries are a popular fruit to grow at home because they are easy to grow and are nutritional powerhouse fruits. They are high in Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. You can generally find fresh strawberries in stores during the spring and summer, but there is nothing like eating a strawberry you’ve just picked from your own garden. There are a few things you should keep in mind as a home gardener to make sure you have a successful crop, however.
You can grow these compact plants in beds, containers, and hanging baskets, so even if you have limited space, you can still add these delicious fruits to your yard, patio, or balcony.
The number of chives plants that can grow in one pot varies from three to ten, depending on the variety. Winter mulching is recommended for chives plants in zones three and four.
This plant has a low, bushy growth habit, with vines that can grow up to 16 inches tall and 12-24 inches wide. The plant can also produce runners that can extend up to 40 inches long.
Spring to fall
Color and characteristics:
The leaves of the plant have three lobes, are green, and have toothed edges. The small flowers are typically white, but can also be red or pink. The center of the flower has yellow pistils and stamens. The berries of the plant are most often red, but can also be orange-red, yellow, or white. The fruit is sweet and flavorful.
This answer varies depending on the type of strawberry plant. With the right amount of care, most strawberries will last for 3 to 4 years. New strawberry plants can be grown from runners that come off the main plant.
The entire strawberry plant is non-toxic to animals. If your pet likes the taste of the fruit, limit their consumption so they don’t eat too much sugar.
It is important to be aware of the various types of strawberries in order to select the most suitable variety for your garden.
- June-bearing: Most common; produces heavy crop of large berries in June.
- Everbearing: Not truly everbearing. Produces two main crops: late spring and again late summer to early fall. Fruit slightly smaller than June-bearers.
- Day-neutral: Smaller consistent yields throughout the growing season,from late spring to frost, smaller fruit.
- Alpine: Small, but intensely flavorful berries; everbearing or day-neutral varieties.
- Wild: Berries with superior flavor, North American native.
- Ornamental: Grown mainly for foliage, fruit is insignificant.
Learn more about the different types of strawberries.
HOW TO PLANT STRAWBERRIES
Strawberries can be grown in many different ways, such as in raised beds, garden beds, larger plots, hanging baskets, containers, window boxes, and strawberry pots. They can be grown from starter plants, bare root, or seed.
How long does it take strawberries to grow?
However, the exact ripening time will depend on the temperature and other growing conditions. If a strawberry plant is coming out of dormancy, it will take about 2 months to reach its full growth. If the plant is grown from seed, it will take about 6 months. The type of strawberry plant will determine when it produces fruit—some types produce fruit as early as June, while others produce fruit throughout the summer and into early fall. In warmer climates, the plants should start blooming in early spring. Once the flowers are fertilized by pollinators, the berries should ripen in approximately 30 days. However, the exact ripening time will depend on the temperature and other growing conditions.
When to plant strawberries:
In spring, wait for the soil to be dry enough to work and the air temperature to be above 40 degrees Fahrenheit before planting.
Where to plant strawberries:
Find a sunny spot to plant your strawberries where the soil is fertile and well-draining. You don’t want to plant them where tomatoes, peppers, or potatoes have recently been grown because the soil can have pathogens that will harm the new plants.
Planting in beds:
Loosen the soil around the planting site to a depth of 12 inches, and add a lot of organic matter to it. Dig a hole that’s big enough that you won’t have to bend the roots when you put the plant in, and place the plant so that the midpoint of the crown is at soil level. Spread the roots out slightly, and then fill the hole back in with soil. Water the plant well. To keep the fruit off the ground and prevent rot and damage from slugs, put fresh straw around the plant as mulch. You can also use strawberry supports to keep the berries off the ground and prevent rot.
- Matted row system: Most often used for June-bearing varieties, plants are spaced 18 to 24 inches apart with three feet between rows. This allows room to establish new plants from runners beginning in the second year.
- Hill method: Most often used with everbearing and day-neutral strawberries, soil is mounded in hilled rows 8 inches tall, 24 inches wide, and as long as needed. Plants are spaced on the hills 12 inches apart in two staggered rows. Runners are pinched and not allowed to set new plants.
Growing strawberries in containers:
Choose a good potting mix and plant your strawberries as you would for beds. Pots need to be well-drained. Place your plants 10 to 12 inches apart; they will need more water and fertilizer than plants in the ground. Strawberries can be planted in traditional pots, vertical planters, or stacked planters.
Growing strawberries indoors:
If you’re an experienced gardener, you can try growing strawberries indoors. However, you’ll need to provide artificial lighting and hand-pollinate the plants to get berries.
Growing strawberries hydroponically:
Hydroponic strawberry cultivation may appeal to experienced gardeners seeking to grow strawberries year-round indoors. In hydroponics, plants are grown in water fortified with nutrients, rather than soil.
Strawberry companion plants:
Some plants that get along well with others are borage, caraway, and bush beans. If you want your strawberries to do well, however, you shouldn’t plant them near broccoli, cauliflower, or kale, as these other plants can inhibit the strawberry plants’ growth.
During the summer, the runner plants grow from the mother plants and take root. In the fall, the plants store food and form fruit buds for the next year’s crop. The plants must be kept healthy to produce new plants and fruit buds.
The strawberry plant requires shallow roots and frequent watering after transplanting. If there is little or no rainfall, enough water should be applied to wet the soil to a depth of 12 inches. This usually requires 1 inch of applied water.
The width of your rows should be 18 to 24 inches. Cultivating and hoeing will help you control weeds and grass, which is very important for taking care of strawberries. Cultivating will help keep the runner plants within the allotted row area and make it easier for them to take root. You can use chemical herbicides to help with weed control, but we don’t recommend it because it could damage the strawberry plants. For more information on weed control in strawberries, see OSU Extension Fact Sheet HLA-6239 “Weed Management in Small Fruit Crops.”
Apply 1.5 pounds of ammonium nitrate per 100 feet of row between August 15 and September 15. This will give adequate nitrogen for fruit bud set. Make sure leaves are dry at application and brush all fertilizer off the leaves immediately afterward. Apply about one inch of water if rain is not expected within a day or two.
If you want your plants to be strong and produce a lot the following year, you should remove all the flowers during the first season. If you allow the berries to develop during the first year, it will reduce the plant’s growth, the development of new plants, and the crop next year.
To have a successful strawberry plantation, it is best to have an area that receives full sun for most of the day. shady areas tend to make the plants produce more leaves, but very little fruit. These shady areas are usually wetter than sunny areas, so they have more problems with diseases. If the plants do not have enough water, they will have a lower yield and more problems with diseases. There should be irrigation water available to help the plants during dry periods.
The ideal pH range for strawberries is 6.0 to 6.5. You should avoid planting in low areas, as they are more likely to experience late spring frost. Additionally, the site should not have been used to grow any other type of berries, tomatoes, potatoes, or peppers, as this increases the risk of diseases, such as tomato ringspot virus and root rot.
In the spring, use a soil sample to test the quality of the soil in your strawberry beds. After you harvest the fruit, renovate the planting by narrowing the rows and controlling weeds. Narrowing the rows to 8-10 inches will help keep the strawberry bed healthy and productive. You should also apply any necessary fertilizer at this time. Be sure to read the label on any herbicides used so that you can properly time irrigation for optimum weed control. If weeds are outgrowing the strawberries, it may be a sign that there is too much nitrogen in the soil and you will need to reduce nitrogen fertilizer applications. Otherwise, apply fertilizer as recommended by your Extension educator, based on your soil test results.
Watering, fall nitrogen application, and winter frost protection should be done in order to have a properly nurtured strawberry bed that lasts three to five years.
Strawberry plants that are established and have vigorous growth will provide shading and mulching effects. It may be beneficial for these plants to have a winter covering of straw or a similar mulch. This covering will help protect the plants from extreme cold or heat, as well as from drying out due to winter winds.
The best time to apply mulch is a few weeks after the first hard frost, when plants are already cold-resistant. Otherwise, mulching too early can damage the plants during winter. To mulch, add a layer of straw about three to four inches deep over the entire plant bed.
The mulch should be removed in early spring, around March, when the strawberry plants start to grow. To know when this is, lift up some of the mulch and see what the plants look like underneath. If they have new leaves, they’ll be a light green color. Once you see this, you can remove the mulch or rake it to the side. That way, you can easily put it back if there’s another frost.
It is recommended that some mulch be left in the berry row, as this will help to keep the fruit clean and free from soil-borne diseases. The mulch will also aid in harvesting during wet weather, and will help to protect the strawberries from damage during hail storms. Winter mulch may also help to avoid some frost damage to the plants in the spring by delaying plant development and flowering.
-Fabric mulches are available and usually applied over hoops arching over strawberry beds. -To keep the fabric in place, the edges are covered with soil or weighted down with bricks or other objects. -Fabric mulches must be removed when bloom begins in order to allow bees to pollinate the flowers; if not, you can expect a poor crop. -If plants appear pale green in color and have not yet begun to bloom, the mulch should be removed to allow more sunlight to reach the plants. -To remove fabric mulch, carefully take the soil or other weight off of one edge and off of the ends. Then, fold the fabric off of the plants and lay it in a row on one side of the strawberries. -When the fabric is no longer needed, it may be folded and stored for the next season if it is in good shape.
The amount of time it will take for the fruit to be ready to harvest will depend on the type of fruit and the weather conditions.Pick the fruit when it reaches the desired stage of ripeness. The different types of fruit will be different colors when they are ripe. Some are pink, some are red, and some are dark red. The best way to know when the fruit is ripe and ready to be picked is to taste it.
It’s best to pick fruit in the cool part of the day for the longest storage life. If you’re going to freeze or process the berries, choose varieties with long necks so the caps are easy to remove.
It’s usually best to choose strawberry cultivars that do well in the region where you live. You can ask your local garden center, extension service, or state-by-state guide for recommendations.