How To Grow Strawberries

Strawberry Growing in Containers

Strawberries can be grown straight into soil in the garden or in containers and a hanging basket.  

They do not take too much looking after once they start to grow.
It is important to buy the strawberry plants from a reputable garden centre or store. 

There is no need to buy too many plants because you can grow more yourself from the runners.
Strawberry Plants

Strawberry Growing - Summer Fruiting

The Summer fruiting varieties give you one very good crop with large fruit in the summer

These are the ones I planted here. Some in the ground and some in containers and a hanging basket. 

Strawberry Growing 

Where To Grow Strawberries

It is best to pick an area in the garden that will have sun shining for about 6 hours during the day. But also pick a semi sheltered spot away from the wind.

Keep away from areas where you grew potatoes or tomatoes in the two previous years. 

The best time to plant strawberries is in the spring and here in Ireland that would be the middle of March and early April. It depends on the winter and if there is still a lot of frost.

Planting strawberries is always best done in the early evening.

How To Grow Strawberries

How to Plant Strawberries in the Garden

  • Clear a space in your garden.
  • Dig very large holes and add some fresh compost to them.
  • Put a plant into the hole and spread the roots so they fit comfortably.
  • Cover with soil and press down hard.
  • In the middle of each strawberry plant is the crown. Do not cover this with soil or it will rot and kill off the plant.
  • Continue to plant your strawberries about 16 inches apart.
  • Once you have planted them all water generously.

How to Look After Your Strawberry Plants

As the weeks go by keep an eye on your plants.
Keep them well watered and remove weeds.

Strawberry Runners

How to Cultivate Strawberry Runners

When you see new shoots appearing push them into the ground so that they can root. These are called runners. Leave them attached to the main plant for now.

Strawberry plants bear fruit for around five to six years. By looking after the runners you can produce fresh plants every year.

New Strawberry Plants

Strawberry Runners Planted in Pots
  •  Pick out a runner and look at the baby plants on them.
  • Pick the strongest with the best roots.
  • Cut away any of the lesser plants after this one.
  • Place the root in the ground beside the older strawberries.
  • If they are in a container then use a pot to root the runner.
  • Cover with soil
  • Secure the runner into the soil with wire
  • Water them once planted
  • When you see new shoots you can then cut them away from the main plant.
  • They will be ready to be planted in the garden or containers in October or the following spring which ever you choose.

    White Flowers on the Strawberry Plants
Growing Strawberries

Soon you will see nice white flowers appear on the strawberry plants. After about a month each white flower you see becomes a strawberry.

Water and weed around the plants regularly.

Once you see the flowers appear put some straw or other mulch around the bottom of the plants.

The flowers need to be pollinated by the bees and birds.
But you can protect the plants from snails and slugs by placing some broken egg shells or seaside shells around the mulch.

Once your flowers have started to produce the strawberries you can place some netting over the plants to keep the birds from eating the fruit.

Strawberries Picked and Ready to Eat

When to Harvest the Strawberries

Once the fruit turns red check them every day.
Pick the ripe ones by twisting them off the stem.
You should be able to harvest fruit for up to five weeks
Never wash the strawberries until you are about to eat them.

Clearing the Strawberry Bed

  • Leave the plants alone once you have picked all the fruit.  The leaves will grow bigger and will start to wilt and turn yellow in time.
  • Once this happens then cut off all the foliage right down the the ground
  • Do not damage the crown.
  • Clear the mulch and leaves away from the plants.
  • Once this is done you will be left with very little of the strawberry plant showing.
  • Do not worry because come next spring they will grow stronger and larger than last year.

The Strawberry Plants Cleared after the Growing Season

Strawberry Growing in Containers

If you plant strawberries in containers you can move them to the sunniest spots during the day. It also frees up the garden plots for other vegetables.

How to Grow Strawberries in a Hanging Basket

Strawberries Growing in My Hanging Basket
  • Cut a plastic bag to place inside the basket making sure to have drainage holes in it.
  • Put a few small stones or broken polystyrene into the basket
  • Add some compost to about half way
  • Cut the plastic at the bottom edges to allow you to add some plants. 
  • Push the roots of the plants through the plastic and into the soil
  • Press the soil down firmly around these roots.
  • Add more soil to the middle of the basket and press down firmly
  • Take a plastic bottle that you have cut the bottom off.
  • Put the bottle into the compost with the mouth piece face down
  • Now add more compost to the basket and plant more strawberry plants around the edge
  • Leave one side of the basket free of plants as it will be up against the wall and be shaded most of the time.
  • Now you can plant some inside the top of the hanging basket.
  • Add the last of the compost to fill the basket up and press down hard
  • Water the basket very well and hang the basket on a garden wall.
  • Look after the strawberry plants by watering very well. Also put the hose directly into the bottle so that the water can get directly to the roots.
Strawberries Growing in My Garden

So there you have it. Once you plant some strawberry plants you will have them in your garden for up to five years if you look after them properly. They really are easy to grow and wonderful to eat.

All Images are the copyright of L.M.Reid 

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