Advantages: Because the runners are constantly removed, the plants are able to put their energy into producing bigger berries. The strawberry patch also stays productive longer.
Disadvantages: Because you are continuously removing the runners that would form new plants, this system is more labor intensive and requires more plants to start with a greater up-front cost.
Spacing: Set ever-bearing varieties 12 inches apart in a double row (12 to 18 inches between rows). Space day-neutrals slightly closer together: 8-inches apart in a double row, with 12 inches between rows. Overcrowded strawberries create damp conditions that encourage disease. Stagger the plants in the rows to make sure each plant has plenty of room.
Training: Remove all of the runners every few weeks during the growing season. If you prefer, you can peg a few runners into the ground and allow them to form replacement plants.
Best Suited For: Day-neutral and standard ever-bearing varieties that don't produce large numbers of runners.
Advantages: This system requires less labor than the hill system, and requires fewer plants to get started with less up-front cost.
Disadvantages: Because the runners are allowed to set freely, individual berries on each plant tend to be smaller. Replacement plants are necessary to avoid lulls in production.
Spacing: Set new plants 18 inches apart in a single row running down the center of a raised or mounded bed. If you're planting a level plot, leave at least 30 inches between rows.
Training: Allow the plants to set runners in the spaces between crowns and form new plants. During the growing season, keep walking paths free of runners, and remove any that stray more than 18 inches from the rows.
Best Suited For: Varieties that produce lots of runners (June bearers and vigorous standard ever-bearers).
Advantages: Plants are off the ground where they are less susceptible to problems from insects and disease.
Disadvantages: Container strawberries mean fewer plants and a smaller crop of berries.
Planting "Strawberry Jars": Although nearly any pot or container will do, "strawberry jars" are attractive, urn-shaped planters (usually made of plastic or terra cotta) with a series of small pockets running along the sides.
To plant them, fill the pot with soil until you reach the lowest level of "pockets" on the sides of the urn. Insert your strawberry plants into the pockets and fill in around them with soil.
After planting the first set of pockets, insert a 1 inch diameter PVC pipe with holes drilled along the sides into the center of the pot (this will be used for watering). Continue to fill the urn with soil and plants until the jar is full.
Planting Hanging Baskets: Use one 12 or 14 inch diameter hanging basket and 4 to 8 plants (any excess growth will readily spill over the sides). Fill the basket with a lightweight potting soil that holds moisture well. Mix in a little compost or other slow release organic fertilizer when planting. Strawberry plants in containers need watering more frequently than those planted in beds, so check moisture levels daily. Hang your basket on a Shepard's hook or use a wall or roof-mounted hook, if your sunny spot is beside the house.
Training: At planting time, remove all visible blooms, runners, and berries that started to develop at the nursery. It's important that all of the plants' energies go into producing strong roots while getting settled in.
Best For: All strawberry varieties. For a harvest that comes all at once (with larger berries), choose June-bearing strawberries. For a continuous crop of smaller berries throughout the season, choose day-neutral varieties. Or you can try a few of both!
By Ellen Brown
Approximate Time: Two evenings (one for painting and one for assembling)
By Nelda from Dallas, TX
If the plant roots are very dry, put them to soak for a few hours. Meanwhile, dig a v-shaped trench deep enough to let the root systems of your young strawberry plants spread out below ground level while the crowns remain above the surface. Then set the new arrivals in the ditch, leaning against one side of the "v" and far enough apart so their roots won't get tangled together. Fill in your temporary storage space with earth and press the soil down firmly. Your plants should be perfectly comfortable in this shelter until you have their final location ready for them. If the strawberry plants' roots were all dried out when they arrived, it's a good idea to leave the newcomers heeled in until they get a new start on life. If you do, though, you'll need to be especially careful not to damage the fresh growth when you remove the plants from the trench.
Strawberries are great favorites of many back-yard gardeners, until it comes time to cut runners from the plants. If you'll take an old galvanized bucket and trim out its bottom, sharpen the edge all the way around, fasten a board across the top for a handle, and chuck the improvised tool right down over each plant, you'll zip off all its runners at once.
By fossil1955 from Cortez, CO
When planting in containers, use a well drained potting soil mix and plant the crowns 10 to 12 inches apart. Keep the developing runners pruned the first season to focus the plant's energy on bearing fruit. You can also remove the first set of blossoms to boost the plants size if necessary. Keep your strawberries moist (not wet) and plan on fertilizing them regularly (organic fertilizers include bone meal, fish emulsion and blood meal). Strawberries grown in containers are usually treated like annuals and discarded at the end of each season, but if protected over winter, they may last a few seasons before production falls off.
By Ellen Brown
During season two, the plants should receive 1 inch of water per week during fruit development and through until fall. Watch plants for signs of pests or disease and be prepared to protect plants from birds and animals. Strawberries begin to peter out after 1 or 2 seasons of production. Stagger plantings or start over with new plants every 2 to 3 years to maintain productive crops.
By Ellen Brown
I am trying to grow strawberries in a barrel. The plants are doing well but the runner are touching the ground. What do I do with them?
Hardiness Zone: 8a
By Glenn from McGehee, AR
Set small pots at the base of the barrel and set the "daughters" in them. They will eventually root and be new plants and then you can plant them where ever you want.
Can I till up my old strawberry patch and plant new plants? Or do I have to plant in a different spot?
By Gerald D.
I set out everbearing strawberries last year. How many years can I hope to have berries before they need transplanting?
Hardiness Zone: 7b
By Cookie from Pleasant Plains, AR
You are supose to remove the mother plant and let some of the babies take over about every three years. The mother plants will have bigger leaves, and show the runners that are comming from them. They will even continue to multiply if you choose to give them away when you pull them. Here is what happens.
The runners will get many babies. Strawberries are a ground cover. I give away strawberry plants every year becouse they just take over every thing.
The first few years they would not produce for me. So I did some research and found that rabbit droppings are the majic key to producing fruit. Stir them in water and just throw the muddy looking water on. Hourse manaure is a second choice. Good luck with your strawberries.
How do I transplant strawberries from my earthbox? Do i need to buy another box? A man once told me not to use the first year runners, if so should I just snip them off?
I have had sucess growing strawberries by covering the part of the runner closest to the new plant shallowly with soil and anchoring it there either with a bent piece of wire or a small brick or rock. After the new plant has taken root, you can then cut the runner from the mother plant. If the mother plant is in a container I would place a pot next to it for the new runner to grow in. I have been told to only use first and second year runners because strawberries are usually infected with viruses by the third year, but any runners will take strength from the mother plant and reduce yields. :)
I live in Georgia and this is the first time trying to grow Strawberries here. I have grown them in Florida and they did great, but they are dying quickly and have not produced much fruit. What can I do to save what I have left?
Hardiness Zone: 7b
By Horsewzl from Macon, GA
I would say lots of water!
How to I get the animals to stop eating my strawberries? They are growing on the ground.
Hardiness Zone: 6a
By Martha from Parma, OH
What kind of animals? Neighborhood pets, rabbits, birds, or burrowing critters? If the animals are above-ground, fencing your strawberry patch might work. If the animals can reach them from above, then a fence with netting or chicken wire over the top might work.
If they're burrowing animals, though, someone else would have to step in here, because I'm not sure how to stop them.
I hope this info helps, or maybe inspires you to come up with a better solution!
Hardiness Zone: 5a
imama2many from UT
A large colony of ants can be problematic in a strawberry patch primarily, because the ants act as protectors of aphids, tiny sap sucking insects which love to feed on young strawberry leaves. The aphids eat the leaves and excrete a sugary substance called honeydew that the ants love to feed on. The ants appreciate the honeydew so much that they will actually act as "shepherds" to the aphids, protecting them and herding them from plant to plant in an effort to keep them well fed. It is a win-win for both insects.
Short of moving your strawberries to a new location or resorting to pesticide use (which is unhealthy in the case of edibles and not always effective anyway), one strategy might be to try to clear the ants out of the area before replanting this spring. A week or two before you expect to plant, keep the soil moist (not saturated) and turn the soil over once or twice every day with a shovel. This will destroy their current mounds and should be enough to keep them from rebuilding. In theory, they will be fed up from the constant commotion and move to a more stable location. I have also read of gardeners successfully convincing them to relocate after flooding the mounds daily with a watering can, and others having some success by mixing diatomaceous earth into and on top of the mounds.
As a note, you need to keep all the leaves from touching untreated ground, and you'll need to keep up on the grounds. We did this with our roses and it worked wonderfully. (01/11/2009)
I have a container garden, and planted my strawberry plants in milk jugs. I couldn't seem to water them enough, the strawberries were too little and dried out. I decided to improve their container by turning it into a self watering planter. I got another milk jug, cut it in half and used the top part so I could pour water into the bottom half. I put a piece of torn t-shirt that was long enough to touch the bottom of the 'reservoir' into the bottom of the container holding the plant and pushed it into the 'reservoir'. I then duct taped it so it would stay together. Already my strawberries are plumping up!