How to Grow Strawberries

There are many reasons to make strawberries a part of the design for your permaculture plot. Not only do they taste great – even when eaten straight from the plant – they contain lots of vitamins and minerals so are good for you to. They are adaptable plants, able to grow in most conditions as long as they get lots of sunshine, and can be grown in baskets and containers by those short on space. Strawberry plants are also perennial, so you get annual crops from the same plants over several years.

Choose Variety
Strawberries are cultivated from seedlings, so source an organic supplier. You may be able to source seedlings from a fellow gardener’s plants, but these will not be as strong as newly grown seedlings, which are preferable if you are establishing a perennial patch. Most species can adapt to a variety f climates and condition, but perhaps ask local growers which they have had the most success with. Popular varieties include Redchief, which is renowned for its resistance to disease, Honeyoye, which are good at overwintering and producing naturally sweet berries, and Earligrow, which offers one of the earliest harvests.

Position
Strawberry plants like lots of full sunlight. If temperatures are very high during the spring and summer growing season, consider planting so the plants receive partial shade at the hottest times of the day to prevent the plants drying out. You also need to ensure the plants are in a well-ventilated position, to try and prevent fungal spores settling on the plants, as strawberries are particularly susceptible to mold.

Soil
Strawberries prefer soil that is well drained and is rich in organic matter. When preparing the soil in your garden bed for your strawberry plants, add lots of organic compost or manure to ensure nutrient-rich humus. If you have particularly alkaline soil, use coffee grounds in the compost to bring down the pH, as strawberries prefer a slightly acid soil.

Planting
Plant the seedlings so that the crown of the rootstock is at the soil surface level. This will help it get the relatively large amount of water it needs without the roots rotting. Strawberry plants typically spread out quite a lot, so give each a good 30 centimeters of space. But because in permaculture design you seek to maximize the yield of the plot, consider at least variegated planting so not too much earth is left bare.
Place a net over the plants to protect them from birds and squirrels.

Consider Companions
As with most of the plants in a permaculture plot, judicious use of companion planting can help strawberries grow and produce good crops. One of the best companion plants for strawberries is the culinary herb borage, which aids the strawberry plants by attracting lots of beneficial insects. The borage flowers attract lots of pollinating insects, which in turn draw in insects that prey upon them, such as predatory wasps. These predators prey on insects that can damage the strawberry plants. Borage also adds trace minerals to the soil, which can assist strawberry plant growth, and some gardeners believe that the proximity of borage actually improves the flavor of their strawberry crop. Other candidates for companion planting include beans and lupin which, being legumes, help fix nitrogen in the soil, and caraway which attracts the parasitic wasps that predate insects damaging to the strawberries. Plants that are not suitable for companion planting with strawberries include those in the cabbage family, which inhibit growth by competing for nutrients, and species that are susceptible to the fungus verticillium, such as tomatoes, eggplant, okra and potatoes. Even planting strawberries in soil that has hosted such species in the previous five years can leave them susceptible to infection.

Mulch
Mulch helps almost any plant. It helps the soil retain moisture, protects it from erosion by wind and rain, and provides a slow release of nutrients (as long as the mulch is organic in nature). It is particularly useful for strawberries as mulch helps to prevent fungal growth, which can easily infect strawberry plants. Pine needles are arguably the best mulch for strawberries as they allow lots of water percolation and also keep the soil slightly acid, which strawberry plants prefer. However, straw is commonly used as well.

Irrigation
Strawberry plants are quite moisture-hungry plants. This is one of the main reasons to mulch the ground around them – to retain moisture in the soil – but they will also need regular irrigation. However, they do not like getting their leaves wet, so either water carefully at ground level or consider instituting a drop irrigation system to target water at the roots.

Maintenance
If left to their own devices, strawberry plants can propagate rapidly and even by the second year will have crowded the garden bed to such how to grow strawberriesan extent that too many plants are competing for too few nutrients, resulting in diminished crops. You can prevent this by taking off the runners – the spindly branches the strawberry plant send out from the main stem to establish new plants nearby (strawberries do not need pollination; they propagate themselves) – when they appear. However, if you want to renew your strawberry patch you can use these runners to perpetuate the crop. When the runners appear choose five or less to remain and remove the others (too many will be problematic as stated above). Peg them down so they do not extend too far and begin to establish themselves in the soil. Once the new plants appear, cut from the main plant and leave to grow or transplant to another area of your bed as desired.

Harvesting
The fruit is ready to harvest when it is a uniform red color, with no areas of white or green remaining. The exact shade of red will depend upon the variety you grow. Ripe fruit quickly goes rotten on the branch, so during the ripening season, check everyday for suitability. If you lightly touch a fruit and it comes off, chances are the crop is about ready. Harvest in dry conditions and handle with care to avoid bruising the fruit. Eat fresh the same day as harvesting as the fruit spoils quickly, or if preserving, do so on the same day to retain the most flavour.

98 comments

I had good luck with my 4×4 raised beds this year. Very tasty.

Sarah Hope looks like our tub for the strawberry plants….?

OOOOOOooo Carolyn… Wanna do this instead of putting them in the ground?

I use them so much I’m worried I use them too much…

Strawberries are awesome, but watch where you plant them. They have a tendency to not stay at home.

Yeah only if they’re not GMOs or sprayed with Roundup they’re healthy

Strawberries are the only thing I’ve successfully grown in my highly acidic soil with the pine trees everywhere!

Adrian Aguilar

Mine didn’t amount to much. And what did ripen was taken by the squirrels. Might try them using vertical planting thus summer, but still on the fence… Lol… That’s funny because I was thinking of using my fence…

I have a patch that comes up every year, usually the squirrels beat me to them. I also have a clay strawberry pot that nets me a few nice berries every year.

I think ours need to be moved, the bush they were under has taken over and the berries don’t have a chance

Went strawberry picking every year at the same wild strawberry fields as a child around abandoned farms.

I grew up in Niagara where we grew acres of strawberries so yummy fresh from your own farm land

I try unsuccessfully every year. Did you ever notice that unsuccessfully has three sets of double letters in it?

I have a nice strawberry patch, the kind I have are ever berry and they produce until first frost! Yummy!

Yep, despite all my efforts, my runners got out of control last year, and the bed is now too crowded. This spring I’ll be doing some thinning.

used to pick them wild in a farmers field along with black berries and raŝpberries we didnt know how lucky us six kids were took home large puff balls and ate them with butter this was in bolton 2 months evey year of and lets not forget the asparagus by the road yummy that is what we lived off of too many kids but like the Waltons then

GMOs and Roundup involve environmental arguments. Strawberries are delicious.

Growing in our Palmetto Supreme GardenSoxx

I have successfully grown them in pots

When reading about how to grow things or even survive, back it up on paper.

Strawberries need to be moved or ‘re-seeded’every 3 or 4 years

I drink them every day with my spinach

Can’t get into this site fro some reason…

My dog eats most of them!~

drove by miles of ripe strawberries today near San Louis Obispo, CA:)

My sista Rebecca Mills is allergic to strawberries…I guess I could eat her share!!!

Lots of great information

Old rain gutters work great for strawberries. Plus it gets em off the ground.

Mischa …thought of you and your berry patch on the old patio. 🙂

Mine are in the ground. Well, on cardboard, surrounded with compost, covered with leaves, but the bed is on the ground. I figure I’ll move stuff around if they start to creep.

Genovi Ferrini

if I grew some in a pot last year will they come back this year, I didn’t winterize the pot for winter, 🙁

they should..mine did.

Should be fine Maddie, mine survived 2 rough winters in window boxes.

Strawberries can become very invasive

If I discover that nightshades are no more, I’ll put much energy to growing berries this summer. Just worried b/c we’ll be gone on our honeymoon in June for 7 nights.

I am debating whether to grow those green beans or strawberries in a gutter on my deck in sunshine almost all day long.

excellent, thank-you ladies, 🙂

I think I will do this!

perennial unless squirrels dig them up

It looks like the strawberries in this pic are being grown in a soil tube. Does this work well? If growing on a patio how deep does the soil need to be fo rhem to do well?

Liam Buell

we worked hard one year and made a huge hill, planted 125 strawberry plants, went out the next morning and the dear had ate them all! Plucked right out of their hole. If I ever decided to plant strawberries again, it would be closer to the house in a high gutter.

I’ll have to remember this when I plant them, what a great idea!!!

We planted in raised trellis like the picture in old rain gutters.. work very well

The deer enjoyed ours very much!

In snow? Who knew?

I call our yard/gardens ‘The Smorgasbord’

I call ours “the salad bar!”

I grew strawberries, which are so cheap at the store, the birds mostly ate mine, not really worth the effort!

Why would u plant in plastic?
U could use burlap or recycled rain gutters

Excellent source of fiber.

Ever think of netting? not real expensive. You can also use chicken wire made cages which last year after year.

drag water to crop wait half an hour

Anyone know how to keep the fugazing squirrels out of my planters? I’ve planted twice & they keep digging them up. If the fall on the ground the ground hogs eat the roots off! I hate OH.

strawberries only need about 2-3 inches of soil. Their roots are very shallow

The ants eat them all here before you can get them, and trust me there is no organic way to kill the ants especially in a set-up like this.

i grow mine in a wooden barrel ,covered it with bird netting to keep birds and squirrles away

Lana & I have a strawberry patch, they are spreading more each year !!!

Yeah, strawberries might be easy to grow, but it is hard to keep the various pest away. I get lots of strawberries on my plants but between the wild rabbits, ants, sow bugs, birds and who-knows-what-else; we are able to harvest only a handful.

There are many DIY options, where you can have them watering your garden for you weather you’re home or away.

Donna Burd Balch

same when i had strawberry plants. then a ground cover spread so fast it overpowered the few strawberry plants i had & they couldn’t compete so they were smothered out. Manage to get a few, as i had them next to house & sort of hidden from birds. now i can’t get any figs because of the squirrels & birds taking them! the birds will peck one hole in the figs, then i’m unable to use them! there’s a pest for every thing!

I put strawberries in the lunch boxes everyday ..!!

Strawberries produce best the first year then dwindle after that.

Angela check this out & also Ky.

Better grow our own since the strawberries commercially available are the worst of the poisoned spray polluted foods.

I have had success with strawberries in hanging pots

I think these would be perfect for the gutter project Sandy Mason…

try getting rid of them 🙁 wouldn’t suggest for small spot. the WILL TAKE OVER, just a fyi

You are trying to kill me aren’t you Glenda… strawberries?

Yes my strawberries would have been good except the squirrels got to them before l did.

Birds get to mine before me!

Elisabeth I want a ton of strawberries thisbyear5

Mine have been doing great for many years. I don’t have borage with them, but the herbs as well as the asparagus have spread into the strawberry bed. Of course they get beaucoup mulch and fertilizer (compost with added chicken manure). My problem is keeping the birds and turtles from eating them before I do! Tried bird netting but the poor little tweeties were getting tangled in the netting so I took it off!

Brandon DogpartyDon Beranek-Lysaker

Strawberries and kale are among the worst for holding chemicals in their tissues, so yes, growing your own is always best in that instance. I’m not sure I’d want to grow them in anything made of poly-vinyl chloride though. And the idea that they’d take over a garden bed actually sounds rather ideal to me. It’s a good argument for giving them their own space. I’d surely rather have them take over than Johnson grass.

Lee

I have several Strawberry patches but I can never get any fruit from them because as soon as a berry appears (before it is ripe) the squirrels get it. What can I do

good info here!!!

I like the daughter plants though…keeps new plants 🙂

Plus they are most delicious when you pick them and eat them right away!!

Steven Anthony Jolly did you see this?

You still haven’t watched Vimeo.com/28055108

I’ve got a dynamite article on strawberries. I’ll send it to you. It’s by a chiropracter who says strawberries are more effective in treating arthritis than Celebrex!

I had strawberries. The groundhogs and the chipmunks ate all of them, including the plants themselves.

Anonymous

A bit of used kitty litter sprinkled on the ground around the garden keeps squirrels away and probably other “critters”, except birds of course.

Anonymous

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Anonymous

Easy to grow. Delicious and nutritious. Strawberries are where it’s at.

I looked at this page to find out how to grow them on the same bed several years in a row without losing quality and productivity. I guess the answer is, companion planting with legumes, prevent overcrowding, and mulch. We’ll see how it goes.

David

Strawberries are delicious, nutritious, and easy to grow. If animals are getting them before you, your probably need to grow more berries. A mulberry tree nearby will often be enough to satiate the birds. For other animals you might try growing other, inedible things around the berries in order to hide them from the herbivores.

I looked at this article to find out how to grow them in the same plot year after year without losing yield and quality. It seems the answer is:
1) Preventing overcrowding
2) Companion planting with legumes and borage
3) Mulching

Nathan Moorere

Use #Whey2Grow 🌱🌱you won’t believe the results.

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