Get to enjoy sweet, tangy, freshly picked strawberries all year round by building a berry garden! Don’t know how? Here’s a complete guide on how to grow strawberries straight from your backyard.
Everything You Need to Know on How to Grow Strawberries
Where to Plant Your Strawberries
Strawberries are quite sensitive. If you want them to grow properly, you need to choose a high-quality spot with:
- Lots of Sunlight: Strawberries are sun-loving fruits that need at least 6 to 10 hours’ worth of sunlight every day. So when choosing where to plant your strawberries, make sure you go with a location where the fruits will have direct exposure to the sun. Steer clear of any large trees or fences that might cast a shadow.
- Plenty of Space: Your strawberry plants need enough space to sprawl around in.
- Nutrient-Dense Loam: You can generally plant strawberries in all kinds of soil, but they thrive best in nutrient-dense loam. The best approach here is to prep the loan by working in a layer of compost or aged manure months before you begin planting.
- Good pH Balance: Choose soil with a 5.5 to 7 pH level. If your garden’s soil is naturally alkaline, opt to grow the strawberries in a raised garden bed filled with enriched loam.
- Proper Drainage System: Strawberries hate overwatering. Either dig a small canal in your garden or transfer the strawberries to a raised garden bed if it often rains in your area.
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Grow Strawberries
Step 1: Prep the Soil
Once you’ve decided on where you want to grow your strawberry plant, it’s time to prep the area. Clear the soil of any rocks, stumps, or weeds that might get in the way of your growing strawberries.
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Generally, leave about four feet of space between plants. This is just enough space for stolons or runners to sprawl in once the plant starts growing.
Step 2: Trim the Roots
Trim the roots from your bare root strawberry plant if they are longer than eight inches. An excessively long-rooted strawberry plant will be very hard to set.
Step 3: Dig the Hole
The hole you dig should be deep and wide enough to fit the entire strawberry plant’s roots without getting bent.
Step 4: Plant the Bare Root Strawberry Plant
Plant the bare root strawberry so the entire roots are buried under the soil. Note, however, that the crown should be just above the surface. Otherwise, the crown would rot.
Step 5: Daily Maintenance
Make sure the runners, flowers, and fruits get enough sunlight regularly. Remember, sunlight is important in growing strawberries.
Additional Facts on How to Grow Strawberries and Harvest Them
1. Strawberry Plant Longevity
Bare root strawberry plants will produce their first harvest with a year of planting. They should peak fruit production after three years, slowly decline afterward, then gradually die after seven years.
2. Trimming Runners
Gardeners are advised to remove runners that grow during the first year. You can be a bit lenient during the second year.
Generally, however, the length of your strawberry runners and stolons depends on how large your dedicated planting space is. What’s important is that the stolons do not prevent the fruits from getting their daily dose of sunlight.
3. Preserving Heat During Winter
Strawberries hate the cold. That is why they are prevalent in tropical areas such as North America.
If you have warm winters, then you won’t have to worry about the growth of your strawberries. For those who live in cold states and cities, make sure you keep your strawberry garden bed warm with a thick layer of mulch and compost.
4. Pest Control
Slugs love strawberries! Once the berries start appearing, you’ll immediately notice an influx in garden slug activity. What can you do to prevent this?
- Firstly, switch to plastic mulch. Straw mulch is a huge bait for slugs.
- Secondly, scatter eggshells across your strawberry garden bed. The spiky eggshell shards will scratch the slugs’ bodies, infect them, and leave them to die.
- Lastly, add seaweed to your mulch. Seaweed is an effective natural repellent against all kinds of slugs.
5. Pruning in the Summer
Taking care of strawberries during summertime isn’t all play. Keep in mind that the intense heat might cause some of your strawberry runners, fruits, and crowns to rot and die.
Damaged foliage is normal. Sadly, they bring numerous bacteria that could infect nearby plants. Just imagine how terrible it’d be to have your entire garden killed by a few rotten foliages.
6. Fertilize Generously
The growth of your strawberries heavily depends on how healthy your soil is. That’s why regular fertilization is important. Make sure your garden is packed with all kinds of nutrients and minerals to support plant health.
7. Avoid Shades
Position your strawberries far from any towering trees or fences that might block the sunlight. If you want, you can opt to plant the strawberries in a container. That way, you’re free to move the potted strawberry plants wherever you want!
Note: Transferring plants from one place to another is quite stressful. So do not repot or transfer your strawberry plants if the weather is either too hot or cold.
8. Seed Versus Bare Root
It is highly suggested to grow strawberries from bare-root plants rather than seeds because the former is much easier and quicker. You can expect bare root strawberries to bear fruits after just a year. Meanwhile, seeds might take anywhere from two to three years to sprout fruits.
Check out this video by Urban Gardening for a step-by-step video guide on how to grow strawberries from a seed:
Contrary to popular belief, strawberries aren’t that hard to grow. What’s important is to give them enough room to sprawl around in and a sufficient amount of sunlight.
Plus, strawberries are actually one of the fastest-bearing fruit plants around. If the seeds are sown properly, the soil is enriched with enough nutrients, and pests are kept away, you can expect your strawberries to appear one year from being planted.
Did this guide help you learn how to grow strawberries properly? If you have any more questions, feel free to post them in the comments section below!
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