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Grow Your Own

Delicious, Fruity & Fresh

Growing Strawberries

Strawberries are easy and tasty plants to add into your vegetable garden, to grow in patches in your landscape, or to grow in containers. Strawberries not only brighten up your garden, but they provide delicious health benefits. Packed with vitamins, fiber, and particularly high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols, strawberries are a sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie food. They are among the top 20 fruits in antioxidant capacity and are a good source of manganese and potassium. In addition to their numerous health and garden benefits, eating a sun-warmed strawberry straight from the vine never gets old.

a person holding a plant in a garden

Grow Your Own Strawberries

Click on each step to see how to grow your own strawberries:

Choose Your Variety

First, decide the strawberry varieties you want to grow in your garden. There are many to choose from to work with your specific garden needs. These are the three main types:

June Bearing Strawberries produce one large crop in the spring.

Day Neutral Strawberries produce smaller quantities of fruit throughout the spring and summer, no matter how much daylight they get.

Everbearing Strawberries yield two or three crops of berries during the growing season.

green plant in a garden

Plant Your Strawberry Plants

When planting bare root strawberries from a nursery or from a strawberry runner, take care to not cover the crown of the plant where the leaves and shoots are springing from. Plant right at the base of the crown so that new leaves and blossoms can emerge. If you plant too shallow, you risk drying out the roots and weakening the plant. If growing in raised beds or your landscape, space plants 12 to 18 inches apart. Strawberries are self-fertile, but require bees for pollination. Remove some of the runners throughout the season or your strawberry plants will take over your yard.

a hand holding a small strawberry plant

Water and Fertilize

Give your berries one or two inches of water a week, especially during the growing season. Avoid too much water right before a harvest - this can water down the flavor of the fruit.

These plants need nitrogen and phosphorus to produce prolific leaves and fruits. Help your plants thrive by adding a nitrogen-rich fertilizer like blood meal or a phosphorus-rich fertilizer like bone meal in the spring.

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Avoid Pests and Diseases

You can paint little rocks bright red to create decoys around the garden. Many birds and animals will learn that the "fruit" in your garden is hard and inedible. Co-plant near plants like garlic and chives--the smell of which deters deer. Use a bell cage over your plants to prevent birds and squirrels from snacking. This low-lying perennial is susceptible to slugs.

Deter these slimy intruders by scattering broken eggshells around your plant or making a ringed barrier of diatomaceous earth (DE). The tarnished plant bug, a small flat insect with wings, can also be a problem. Pick off any you see or spray them with an insecticidal soap. The most formidable enemy for strawberry plants is the bud weevil. This insect has a long snout it uses to pierce new buds, preventing fruit from form- ing. Get rid of them by cutting off any infected buds you see.

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Harvest strawberries when they're bright red by snapping or cutting the stems. If you notice white areas around the berry, rotate the fruit on the stem so the pale side faces the sun and fully ripens. Check my patch daily once the berries start to redden so you can snatch up the ripe ones before the birds and bugs get them.

Eating a sun-warmed strawberry fresh from the garden never gets old. And that is one of the best way to enjoy them because they lose flavor rapidly. If you do have to store them, place unwashed berries in a shallow, breathable container lined with paper towels.

Refrigerated berries should last a couple of days. Don't stack many berries on top of each other or you'll end up with a mushy mess. To lock in flavor, bag your berries after you've washed, dried, and removed their stems, and store them in your freezer. Use your harvest to create delicious summer salads, preserves, ice creams, jams, and desserts.

Shopping List

  • strawberry plants
  • fertilizer
  • garden soil
  • a pot or plot of land