Juicy, sweet strawberries right off the plant — who wouldn’t want them in the garden?
Supermarket berries tend to be tart with a grainy texture because the natural sugar in berries begins turning to starch as soon as they are picked.
Why not plant your own and taste the difference with fresh from the garden fruit? With these tips, it’s as easy as one, two, strawberry.
Choose Your Strawberry Plant
Strawberry plants come in three types. Think about where you’ll plant your berries to get the best results.
- June-bearing: These are the traditionally grown strawberries that generally produce one large harvest in late spring or early summer depending on temperature. June-bearing strawberries are classified into early, mid-season and late varieties.
- Ever-bearing: These strawberries produce two to three harvests of fruit intermittently during the spring, summer and fall. Ever-bearing plants do not send out many runners and are great for small spaces or containers.
- Day-neutral: These strawberries produce fruit throughout the growing season. Because they produce few runners, they are great when space is limited, but the fruits are usually somewhat smaller than June-bearers. They produce continually when temperature remains between 35 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Choose Your Site
Select a spot in full sun with loose, fertile soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for a low-cost soil test, or purchase a soil testing kit. Test the soil in advance and add aluminum sulfate if the pH is too high.
Strawberry plants grow well in raised beds. Learn more about raised bed gardens.
Planting Strawberries in the Ground and in Pots
Plant strawberries as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring.
- Space plants at least 20-inches apart in rows that are 4-feet apart.
- Dig holes deep and wide enough to accommodate the entire root system without bending it.
- Plant the crown (the plant’s above-ground part) at soil level; firm soil around it.
- Mulch bed with a 1-inch layer of compost.
Here's how to plant a strawberry jar with side pockets:
- Add a few inches of moistened soil or soil mix up to the bottom of the first pocket.
- Tuck a strawberry plant in the pocket, setting it at a bit of an angle.
- Continue to add more soil to the height of each pocket, putting one strawberry plant in each pocket.
- When you reach the top of the jar, plant one or two strawberries on top and add a layer of compost.
- Water the pot well from the top and water each of the pockets.
- Make sure the pot has plenty of sun.
Growing Strawberries in Hanging Baskets
You can plant strawberries in roomy containers or hanging baskets; these are dependable ways to grow strawberries and avoid problems caused by pests or unsuitable soil.
Here's how to plant strawberries in a hanging basket:
- Make sure the container has drainage holes in the bottom.
- Using a mix of two parts organic potting soil, one part organic compost and 1/2 cup of time-release fertilizer, fill the container. Leave 3 inches at the top.
- Lightly loosen the roots of each plant.
- Determine how to arrange your plants. Roots should be covered but the place where the stem meets the roots should be above the soil line.
- Thoroughly water your strawberry plants.
- Keep the container in a shady spot for a few days. Then move it to a place where the plants will get at least 6 hours of sun each day.
- Flowers and fruit will appear when the weather warms in spring.
- Watch. If freezing weather threatens, move the basket to a protected place or indoors near your sunniest window.
Maintaining and Harvesting Strawberries
Strawberries bloom in early spring and will set fruit after pollination. Apply an organic fertilizer every week or two during the growing season.
Properly planted strawberries are hardy perennials, dying back in winter and rebounding in sun-warmed soil in the spring. When runners appear, clip most of them off to encourage more fruit production.
Strawberries are ready to pick when they turn red. Harvest berries in the cool of the morning and refrigerate until ready to eat, or use in recipes like this fresh fruit smoothie recipe.
Whether you need the right tools, seeds or potting soil, The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.