Strawberries are one of the first natural tasty treats of summer. There’s nothing quite like a plump and juicy strawberry, whether you eat them plain, bake a pie, add them to shortcake or turn them into jelly.
Unfortunately, grocery store prices can be a bit prohibitive, so why not grow your own?
Strawberries can easily be grown in garden rows or beds, but the best news is that they are also great for container gardening. They can even be grown indoors as long as they get six or more hours of sunlight a day. However, full sun is best in order to harvest bountiful crop.
Although there are many varieties of strawberries, there are three types – ever bearing, June bearing and day neutral. Ever bearing produce two crops a summer, one on the spring and one in later summer or fall. June bearing produces a large crop once a year, usually in June. Day neutral can produce fruit continuously throughout the June to September growing season.
It is important to choose the right pot when planting strawberries in containers. Fortunately, there are several good options. Some growers use hanging grow bags made from plastic. These bags usually come in green and have holes cut them. The holes provide the “pocket” for the strawberry plants.
Hanging baskets work well for growing strawberries. Another good container option is the strawberry jar, also known as a strawberry pot. These are usually made from terra cotta, but plastic versions do exist.
Strawberry pots resemble an urn that has holes up and down its sides. They are designed to hold a few (one to four) plants at the top. Ideally, the side pockets provide a place for the strawberry runners to root, but if you don’t want for the main plants to develop runners, you can start out by planting a strawberry plant in every hole.
Strawberry plants do best with good soil drainage. You can add organic matter such as compost to help improve drainage and add nutrients. Raised beds also work well to improve drainage.
When planting, make sure the soil is free of weeds that can easily overtake strawberry plants. Try to incorporate at least three percent organic matter such as compost, manure or peat. The ideal pH for the soil is between six and seven.
Although strawberries will grow in several types of soil, a sandy loam is best. A trip to your local garden and hardware store should yield both the strawberry jar and the correct mix of potting soil.
When planting a terra cotta strawberry jar, it is a good idea to soak the jar in water for an hour or more before starting. This keeps the clay of the pot from robbing the strawberry plants of water.
Are you interested in learning more general information about growing strawberries? Check out these helpful resources:
Organic Gardening’s Growing Strawberries
Here’s a pdf from Purdue University’s Cooperative Extension Service on How to Grow Strawberries.
Here’s a good source of information about planting in strawberry jars.
Mother Earth News has tips on the best varieties of strawberries to grow in your area.