Growing Strawberries

A raised bed garden kit is the ideal way to begin this exciting project.Strawberries are one of those fruits that anyone can grow, a sunny porch or balcony is just fine. Growing Strawberries is Fun & Easy, and your crop will produce plenty of harvests for years to come. With appropriate soil and a sunny spot, each Strawberry plant should produce one quart of strawberries!

And there's good reason to grow your own ~
Commercially grown Strawberries are deemed one of the “Dirty Dozen” fruits---those that are generally loaded with high levels of pesticide residue, even after you wash them!

Basics: Sun - Rich Soil - Good Drainage - that's pretty much all Strawberries need.

  • Strawberries need a minimum of six hours of full sun per day.
  • Make sure your raised bed garden kit is placed in a Full Sun location.
  • You will need to fill your garden bed with Sandy Loam with a pH from 5.8 to 6.2. Your local garden center can help you find just the right soil.
  • Drainage- Strawberries hate sitting in water. They need consistent moisture, but will rot if there is poor drainage. Strawberry's love a raised bed garden, which naturally drains well.
  • Do NOT plant your Strawberry's near tomatoes, potatoes, peppers or eggplant. (These plants can harbor Verticillium wilt, which can infect Strawberry plants.)

Strawberry Plants

  • There are basically 3 types of Strawberry plants: June Bearing, Ever bearing and Day Neutral.

June Bearing Strawberries produce a single, large crop per year during a 2-3 week period in the spring. June bearers are the traditionally grown plants, producing a single flush of flowers and many runners. They are classified into early, mid-season and late varieties. The largest fruits are generally from June Bearing varieties.

Ever bearing Strawberries produce two to three harvests of fruit intermittently during the spring, summer and fall. Ever bearing plants do not send out many runners.

Day Neutral Strawberries will produce fruit throughout the growing season. These Strawberries also produce few runners. Ever bearing and Day Neutral Strawberries are great when space is limited, but the fruits are usually somewhat smaller than June Bearers.

**As with all plants, new, improved varieties are introduced every year. Call your local Cooperative Extension service for strawberry varieties grown and recommended for your specific area.

Planting Your Strawberry Plants

  • Plant in Spring or late Fall
  • Amend soil with 1-2 inches of organic matter like compost or well- rotted manure.
  • Make sure all weeds are removed before planting.
  • Be sure you purchase Certified Disease-Free Plants.
  • Select plants with large crowns with healthy, light-colored roots.
  • Make a hole large enough to spread the roots. Hill the center of the hole and place the crown at soil level. Spread the roots downward on the hill. Bury the plant so that the soil only goes halfway up the crown.
  • Once your plants are in, you can mulch the beds with straw, shredded leaves, compost, or pine needles. Pine needles are great because they will raise the acidity level of your soil as they break down.

Leaves and flower buds will emerge shortly after planting. Pinch off all flowers during the first year on June Bearing varieties, and all flowers that form until July 1st on Ever-Bearing and Day Neutral varieties. This will encourage both plant vigor and production of runners.. Pinching off this years flowers means no crop this year but a much better crop next year and several more years of production.

As runners (new growth shoots) form from the plant crowns, press the runners gently into the soil, cover with about 1/2 inch of soil until roots form. Do not cut the runners from the mother plant.

Maintenance Tips

Remember, Strawberries don't like to sit in water, but they do need consistent water available to them. This is why well-drained soil is so important. Strawberries require one inch of water per week to produce fruit. They are shallow-rooted, and if the soil dries out too much, fruit production will stop. Mulching, as mentioned above, also helps keep the soil moisture level more consistent.

Strawberries need constant nutrition to maintain fruit yields. Feed your Strawberry plants once per month from June to September with blood meal and bone meal. (can be purchased at your local garden center)

In addition to the watering and fertilizing, it is important to keep your luscious Strawberry Patch weed free, weeds will steal moisture and nutrients from your shallow-rooted Strawberries. Keep your berries harvested, and remove any rotting fruit immediately.