Strawberries are perhaps the most well-known of all berry fruits. They are also among the most delicious! That’s because they’re a great source of vitamin C and have a sweet flavour that makes them perfect for eating fresh in the hot summer months. Who would not love biting into a juicy strawberry? But growing strawberries can be quite challenging, especially if this is your first time. They require a lot of attention and maintenance to produce a consistent crop. If you’re thinking of starting your own strawberry patch at home, this article will prove to be very useful. We have compiled an ultimate guide on everything you need to know about growing strawberries at home.
What’s so Special About Growing Strawberries at Home?
Strawberries are one of the most loved fruits in the world. They are sweet and juicy and go well with almost all desserts. Their popularity is not limited to desserts, though. Strawberry tea is a great beverage for health and wellness. And did we forget to mention they are an excellent source of Vitamin C?
If you are growing strawberries at home, you will be able to reap a lot of benefits from them. You can use them in many ways, depending on what you want to achieve. Simply eat them as is, make jams, or bake them in a pie. You can also use the leaves of the strawberry plant to make a great tea.
Growing strawberries at home is a great experience, especially if you have children. You can let them plant, water, and harvest them when they are ready. You can even let your pets (dogs, cats and rabbits) eat strawberries in small amounts so they can join in with the family activity of growing strawberries.
What You Should Know Before Growing Strawberries
There are many things you should know before you start growing strawberries. First, know that this is a long-term investment. Depending on the variety and how you grow it, strawberries can take anywhere between 6 to 8 months to mature. If you do not harvest them, they will be very sour. Though, you can make preserves and jams from the unripe strawberries. It is important that you keep track of the progress of the plant so you can harvest them when they are ripe. This will also ensure that the fruit does not get too sour.
Understanding that strawberries are a very sensitive plant is vital for growing them. They do not like the cold weather and will wilt if there is a frost. They also need a lot of water and nutrients to grow. This means that growing strawberries indoors can be a tad difficult, especially if you don’t have a greenhouse. Lastly, you need to be very careful about pests and diseases. Everything from aphids to fungus can ruin your strawberry patch. It is, therefore, important to be careful about the conditions in which you grow your strawberries.
The Different Types of Strawberries
Strawberries are perhaps the most loved berry fruit. In fact, they are often considered to be the king of all berries. They have a wide range of varieties, so you should find it easy to choose the one that is best suited for you. But before we get to the types of strawberries, we should note that there are two groups – ever-bearing and day-neutral. There are also two main types of strawberries – the alpine and the garden strawberries.
Alpine strawberries are smaller and have a stronger flavor. Garden strawberries are the ones we are all familiar with. Alpine and garden strawberries both grow in very similar ways. Depending on the variety of strawberry you choose, the time it takes for the plant to mature will be different. Some varieties can be ready to harvest in as little as 4 weeks, while others may take as long as 8 weeks.
Which is the Best Variety of Strawberry to Grow at Home?
The best variety of strawberry to grow at home depends on a number of factors. If you want to grow strawberries indoors, you will have to choose a variety that can be grown indoors. Similarly, if you want to grow strawberries during the winter months, you will have to choose one that is winter-friendly. The variety you choose will have an impact on your yield. For example, Alpine Strawberry is an ever-bearing variety that can be harvested twice a year. It is also a great choice if you want to grow strawberries indoors.
When to Plant Strawberries and Where?
Depending on where you live, you can plant in the spring or in autumn. In areas where the temperature never drops below 10 degrees, you can plant strawberries all year round. However, if you live in an area that experiences a wide range of temperatures, you should plant strawberries in autumn and let them stay in the soil until spring.
Before planting, make sure the soil is well-drained, moist, and rich in nutrients. If it is not, you can add organic matter to the soil and make it suitable for strawberries. You can also add soil amendments like compost, manure, or wood ash to enrich the soil.
Another important thing to keep in mind is the location. If you want to grow strawberries indoors, a windowsill or a balcony will do just fine. If you are growing them outdoors, you should plant them in full sun. You should also make sure that they are not exposed to strong winds or frost.
How to Grow Strawberries at Home
If you want to grow strawberries at home, you will have to follow a certain procedure. First, you have to choose the right variety. Make sure the variety you choose is suitable for your environment. For example, if you live in an area where the temperature never drops below 10 degrees, you can grow Alpine Strawberry. If you live in an area where it gets very cold during the winter, you should choose another variety.
Once you have chosen the variety, you must prepare the soil. Remember, strawberries need a well-drained soil. You can add organic matter to the soil and make it suitable for growing strawberries. You can also amend the soil with a fertiliser to enrich it.
Now that the soil is ready, you can plant the strawberries. Make sure the plants are spaced about 30cm apart from each other. When they start growing, you need to water them regularly. “I’d advocate making a row on top of good quality soil that has been made into a mound around 15cms high and 45 to 60cms wide. If you’re able, set a porous pipe or soaker hose under this to assist with watering for any dry spells both now whilst the plants establish and at cropping time” says Chris Bonnett, gardening expert for The Express.
How to Grow Strawberries from Seeds
Starting strawberry seeds in December may be a good time. However, you must initiate the germination process prior to planting the seeds. This can be accomplished by freezing the seeds in their packaging for three to four weeks (not in a deep freezer). After this time, bring the seeds back to room temperature by taking them out of the freezer.
The best way to grow strawberries from seeds is in seed starter trays. Press the seeds lightly into moist potting compost before sowing them thinly. Because seeds need a lot of light to grow, place the tray under grow lights. However, keep in mind that the seeds’ germination can take anywhere from seven days to six weeks. The seeds should be kept moist, at 18 to 20 degrees Celsius and well-ventilated. Keep the light two inches above the plant once the seeds start to grow. Move the strawberries into containers that are slightly larger once the seedling has three leaves. Before moving them to the garden or outdoor container, allow them to harden off.
How to Grow Strawberries in Pots, Hanging Baskets, and Window Boxes
If you want to try a different way of growing strawberries, you can do so by planting them in pots, baskets, and window boxes. This is a great way to make use of indoor space and balcony gardening. Choose a deep pot that is 15cm wide as a minimum, and plant one strawberry per pot. The only thing you need to do is to make sure that the soil is well-drained and rich in nutrients. You can even add some organic matter to the soil to make it suitable for growing or apply a liquid high potash feed every week or two from spring onwards.
How to Grow Strawberries from Bare-root Runners
If you are starting a new strawberry patch, the best option is to purchase bare-root runners, which are the more conventional method of purchasing strawberry plants. With long roots, these are available from spring to fall.
It is best to prepare the soil in advance and plant 30 centimetres apart so that their roots are just buried, then firm the soil around them. For the first four weeks after planting water thoroughly, always keeping the soil moist.
Tips and Tricks for a Successful Strawberry Harvest
It is important that you harvest the strawberries at the right time. Wait until they are red all over before harvesting. If you harvest them too early, they will be sour and have no taste. If you harvest them too late, they will be very sour and have no taste.
Harvest the berries by cutting them with scissors and collecting them in a basket or bowl. If you try to pick them with your hands, you are likely to end up crushing them. Wash gently in room temperature water and eat immediately, or store unwashed fruit and a fridge for a few days until you are ready to eat them.
Care and Feeding Regime for Home Grown Strawberries
Water new plants frequently until established and water all plants during dry periods over the growing season. If possible, avoid wetting the crown or fruit to prevent fungal diseases.
Feed plants growing in the ground in early spring. Use a high potassium general fertiliser. Plants growing in containers should be given a high potassium liquid feed weekly or fortnightly during the growing season. For more information about fertilisers, read more here.
Use a weed-suppressing membrane when planting to reduce the need of weeding as frequently.
Strawberries are delicious, nutritious fruits that are loved by people from all over the world. They are easy to grow at home and can be used in many different ways. If you want to start growing them, you can follow the advice in this article. We hope that this article has proved to be helpful and that you now know everything you need to know about growing your own strawberries at home.
Why not check out our other Grow Your Own articles, including the How to Grow Raspberries at Home: Succulent and Simple and The complete guide to growing potatoes at home (2022)