We all love strawberries. Did you know that homegrown strawberries taste better than strawberries bought from the store? The sugar in strawberries converts to starch quickly, so you get the best taste when you grow your own.
How can you grow strawberries? This article will guide you in growing strawberries in a raised bed.
Should you grow strawberries in a raised bed?
Strawberries are well-suited to raised beds. Raised beds extend the growing season of your plants and better prevent weeds and pests from reaching your strawberries.
How do you grow strawberries in a raised bed? When will you harvest your strawberries? What is the best frame material for a raised strawberry bed? Read on to find out.
Preparing Raised Beds for Strawberries
From the points below, you can learn the best materials to make raised beds, the recommended soil for strawberries, and other growing tips.
Materials to Use for Raised Bed Frames
Your raised bed can be made of many things. Popular materials used to make raised beds are:
If you choose wood, make sure it is treated with eco-friendly chemicals so that your plants remain safe.
If you have moles and gophers in your area, consider lining the floor of the raised bed with wire mesh.
If you have clay or sandy soil, mix in compost or other soil amendments to enrich the planting bed.
Strawberries are sweeter when the plant is properly fertilized. You can use granular or liquid fertilizer on your strawberries. You can also use aged manure, compost, or other organic fertilizers for your strawberry plants.
Mulching is very important when growing strawberries. Mulch keeps the fruit from contacting the soil and helps to conserve moisture. The most common material used as mulch for strawberry plants is straw.
Some people say that the fruit is called strawberry because straw is most commonly used as mulch, others say it is because straw was used to store and transport the fruits, hence the name strawberries.
Other materials you can use as mulch are sawdust, wood shavings, mulched leaves, etc.
Now that you know what you need in terms of raised bed frame materials, soil, fertilizer, and mulch, let’s talk about buying the plants themselves.
Seed or Seedling?
Which is better to use—strawberry seeds or seedling plants? The choice is yours.
If you want a quicker harvest, you should purchase seedling plants from a garden center or nursery. If you prefer starting from seeds, you can get a package of strawberry seeds from any gardening shop near you.
What variety should you grow?
Strawberry Varieties to Grow
When you go to the garden center or nursery, you will see many strawberry varieties to choose from. Some varieties that are popular with first-time strawberry growers are:
You can pick any to grow.
Planting (or Transplanting) Your Strawberries
Spacing strawberries is important. As the plants grow, they produce runners that will root and become new daughter plants. If you do not want daughter plants to grow in your raised bed, you should cut the runners as they grow.
If you want the plants to produce runners, you need to plant them at least 20 inches apart. In a typical garden, you can have one strawberry plant every 2 feet.
You can use clips (or U-shaped pins) to pin strawberry runners in place. Pinned runners will produce roots and a daughter plant in that location.
When transplanting your strawberry seedlings, dig a hole large enough to accommodate the plant roots (without bending). Do not dig the hole to be longer than the roots.
Make sure that the crown of the roots (i.e. the region between the roots and stem of the plant) is not buried in the soil.
Caring for Strawberry Plants
How can you care for your strawberry plants? Follow the tips below:
- Always mulch
- Do not overwater them
- Remove visible pests from the plants
- Spray neem seed oil or pureed garlic on the leaves to deter pests
- Never allow the soil to go completely dry before you water your plants
- Research the best time to use fertilizer according to the variety of your plants and your location
Common pests and diseases of strawberries that you should watch out for are:
- Gray Mold
- Spider Mites
- Powdery Mildew
- Japanese Beetles
When properly fertilized (and in the right environment), strawberries will ripen about 30 days after they blossom. Strawberries are sweetest when they are ripe. Any fruit with a green tip is not ripe enough.
You can wait for a day or two after they are completely red before you collect them. You should not wait for more than 2 days, else they will soften or attract birds and other pests.
When harvesting them, collect the fruits with at least 1 inch of stem attached.
How do you store strawberries?
You can refrigerate them for up to 2 days. You can also freeze them completely for 50-60 days. Remember that they may lose some taste when kept for a long period.
Congratulations! Enjoy your home-grown strawberries.
You now know how to use your raised bed to grow, care for, and harvest your strawberries. Remember to mulch the raised strawberry bed to prevent the fruit from contacting the soil. Also, eat your strawberries when they are fresh.