It seems you can never have enough strawberries in our house – so planting our own patch at the farm a few years back became a priority.

growing strawberries
Strawberry Honey Jam – just 4 natural ingredients and oh so good!

In addition to simply eating fresh – we enjoy them in pies, on top of ice cream, in fruit salads – and  making our own strawberry lemonade concentrate (see : strawberry concentrate) and strawberry salsa (strawberry salsa recipe).  Of course, we always make sure to leave enough to make our strawberry-honey Jam to enjoy the year around! (see : strawberry-honey jam recipe)  In fact, now that I think about it – I’m not quite sure we could ever grow enough!

Growing Strawberries is one of easiest things to do! Strawberries are actually a low-maintenance crop. In addition, as a perennial, they continue to keep producing year after year – making them a valuable crop to add to your landscape.

Although there are hundreds of varieties to choose from – strawberries for the most part can be divided into two categories, June bearing (sometimes called Spring bearing), and Everbearing.

Is there anything more beautiful that fresh strawberries!
Is there anything more beautiful that fresh strawberries!

June bearing have always been our favorite – simply because they tend to be larger, juicier and what most of us know as “true strawberries”.  We also like the fact that they come into season all at once for about 3 weeks – allowing plenty for preserving as well.

But that is not to sell short the Everbearing varieties.  Although they tend to be smaller varieties with lower yields –  they are an excellent choice for patio planters and small spaces. 

They also are perfect for people wanting to have a small supply of fresh strawberries throughout the growing year to enjoy on salads, or as a topping on yogurt, ice cream or cereal.

Preparing Your Bed

Strawberries do best when planted on raised ground or rows.  Work in a generous amount of compost to the soil before planting.  It is a really good idea to cover the planting area with black plastic or a landscape fabric before planting.  It makes keeping the bed free of weeds much easier, and also provides protection from slugs and bugs that come up from the ground.

The basics of growing strawberries

Once you have the plastic down – be sure to either cut out holes for your plants, or make a few slits with a knife to allow for planting and watering. As for when to plant – in climates that have more of a true winter – you will want to plant your strawberries in the early spring – about 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost.  

For us (mid-Ohio) sometime in mid-April works best.  For warmer climates with more temperate winters – most will plant in late fall, and have a crop the following early spring.

mulch around your plants to keep weeds out and moisture in. Straw or pine needles work great!
mulch around your plants to keep weeds out and moisture in. Straw or pine needles work great!

Set in the plants so that the upper portion of the crown is just slightly above the level of the ground. The crown is the portion that is directly above the root area, and below the first set of leaves.  As you plant, make sure you press in the soil gently around the roots to prevent from heaving until they are established.

If you plant in rows – set the plants about 10 to 12″ apart in the rows.  You can plant either in single rows about 12” wide – or double rows that are 24” wide.  Either way – allow for at least 24” between rows to walk and pick easily.

If you plant as a grouping in a large bed –  make sure to space the plants about 8 to 10” from each other to allow for fill in.

Long Term Care

 Compost is a great top dressing in the fall to add to your bed to help recharge soil
Compost is a great top dressing in the fall to add to your bed to help recharge soil

In late fall – it is best to mow off your plants to an inch or two above ground level – and then apply a few inches of mulch to help them through the frigid winter months.  We like to first put on an inch of finished compost and then cover with straw or shredded leaves for the mulch.  The compost breaks down and adds nutrients to the soil – feeding it for next year’s crop. Because strawberries prefer the soil to be more on the acidic side – this is one time where pine needles make an excellent mulch.

Although a perennial, as plants age in years –  they will begin to decline in production.  After 4 or 5  years, it is best to start replacing old plantings with new growth offshoots – helping to keep the strawberry beds at their productive peak.

Varieties to plant…   

Here are some of the more popular varieties to plant:

Fresh strawberry salsa is perfect over grilled chicken!
Fresh strawberry salsa is perfect over grilled chicken!

All-Star – A June Bearing variety with good flavor, size and texture.  It is a favorite among June Bearing strawberries  See : All Star Berries

Earliglow – This is a deep red and shiny strawberry – another great choice for June bearing. firm and very sweet

Ozark Beauty – An everbearing variety that is good in both cold and warmer climates.  Excellent for patio planters.  See : Ozark Beauty Plants

Alpine – Although tiny – these everbearing strawberries are full of flavor. Perfect for container planting to enjoy a few fresh berries all summer long.

Strawberry - Lemonade Concentrate
Strawberry – Lemonade Concentrate

One thing to remember when planting in containers – although the everbearing varieties are perennials – they have a better chance of freezing out due to the lack of protection in containers – and the soil they are planted in will also lose vitality over time. So keep in mind you may need to replant every few years.

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Happy Gardening!  Jim and Mary.  This post may contain affiliate links.




16 thoughts on “Growing Strawberries – How To Plant And Grow Your Own This Year!

  • February 28, 2016 at 9:06 am
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    I have used every kind of landscape fabric and plastic- and have now ripped most of it up. I think best bet for blocking weeds first year is brown painters paper- in all my new beds. One thing I didn’t see addressed is sun exposure. Anyone have thoughts on this? Mine are planted on the east side of an outbuilding. I have never had a great yield. Wondering if they can tolerate hot afternoon sun. Thanks for the great variety recommendation… I never knew which ones to pick and why.

  • February 20, 2015 at 12:33 pm
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    If you have plastic down, as I do on mine, any compost spread on top will be wasted. I plan to gently lift parts of the plastic and nudge some compose in between the soil and plastic around each plant this spring. I think my berries got too hot under black plastic last summer, despite the irrigation I had under it. I like the idea here of putting straw atop the plastic, and will try that this year.

    • April 12, 2015 at 6:57 pm
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      That’s what I was thinking….how does the compost help if there is plastic down? And what about runners, how will they spread? I love the idea of it all, but I’m confused (but want to understand)

  • February 2, 2015 at 7:19 am
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    I thought about putting down plastic last year when planting but didn’t because the runners wouldn’t be able to root in the ground. What am I missing?

  • January 14, 2015 at 8:07 pm
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    I planted strawberries last spring. Ozark everberries, that I picked the blossoms off of as they developed to produce a good root system. During the summer, they produced “a ton” of runners and some of the runners produced runners. My question is, how many runners should I leave on each mother plant? And after the runners root, should I cut the runner separate from the main plant? Thanks! Hoping for a good crop this year!

  • April 25, 2014 at 7:34 pm
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    The first year I picked off all the flowers to promote a good root system by letting all the plants energy go there instead of into producing berries. They are coming back very well this Spring. Love, Love, love fresh from homegrown strawberries.

  • April 6, 2014 at 2:45 pm
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    If they are planted in a plastic-covered bed with slits for the plants… How is top dressing with compost going to get to the roots? Is the plastic torn out and replaced every year? Thanks.

  • March 12, 2014 at 10:16 am
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    I bought some strawberry seeds out of curiosity to start some plants. Boy they were tiny seeds. So do you know how long it will be before I can plant them outside.

    • March 12, 2014 at 10:54 am
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      Now that is awesome – starting them from seed! I have never done that – but I would think you can grow them in a container the first year until they at least grow to a few inches – and then set them out. I know most of what we purchased were two year old plants. Hope that helps!

  • March 5, 2014 at 9:43 pm
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    If I want to start strawberries this year I have to plant two year old plants, correct?

    • March 6, 2014 at 6:10 am
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      Ryan – that is the best option to have strawberries a little quicker. You can plant younger starts – it will just take them longer to become established.

  • March 4, 2014 at 9:22 pm
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    I am so excited that we are going to be planting a our first big strawberry bed this year. Your post is very informative and makes me even more excited for spring planting time!

  • March 4, 2014 at 7:27 pm
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    Mmmmmm, we had strawberry plants for a couple of years and it was so great to pick some for our breakfast. They really are a crop that is low maintenance. Enjoy!

  • March 4, 2014 at 6:53 pm
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    Love strawberries but had to give up our bed because the squirrels and chipmunks took every one even though we tried every trick in the book.

  • March 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm
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    What do you think about planting strawberries in pallets? Do you think they would do okay?

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