Strawberries are versatile in the yard and in the garden, and there are several proven methods to grow them. This article will describe how to grow strawberries in each method and weigh the pros and cons of each.
Methods of growing strawberries are raised beds or hills, matted rows, spaced rows, and containers. Each method has its specific requirements of space, maintenance, and water. Some methods bear more productive than others, some are necessitated by space or soil conditions. We will look now at each method individually.
Raised beds and hills: Raised beds can be made by using wood, rock, or any other material to hold the soil, then importing topsoil to make a garden that is generally at least a foot higher than the original ground. The hill method is when a mound of topsoil is made, and the plants are planted on it. The soil can also be more a row than a mound, for a raised row. These methods allow proper drainage in wet areas or areas subject to puddling, but a mulch is needed to prevent erosion. Raised beds get better air movement and thus less disease.
Matted rows: In matted rows where strawberry plants are planted a couple feet apart and the runners are allowed to root anywhere in the row. Within the row, it’s a free-for-all among the plants, which generally crowd each other and compete for nutrients and light, reducing the yield and fruit size. However, this method requires little maintenance. Remove plants that are over three years old, and allow younger plants to replace them; old plants do not bear as prolific as younger ones.
Spaced rows: Similar to matted rows, spaced rows are set out the same way except the number of plants are limited. Allow runners to grow and root until plants are about six inches apart, then remove additional runners. Each year, remove any plants that are older than three years and allow runners to remain to replace them. This method maximizes yields, but is more labor intensive.
Containers: Strawberries can be grown in containers when space is a concern, or when gardeners want to maximize the growing capacity of the yard. Strawberries can be grown in whiskey barrels, hanging baskets, patio pots, clay pots, and window boxes. Container strawberries will need more fertilizer; liquid fertilizer can be administered weekly or monthly, or a time release fertilizer may be used. Strawberries in small containers might not overwinter, so either transplant to the ground for winter or take the risk and have runners rooted in the garden if replacement plants are needed. Container strawberries allow strawberries to be grown in small spaces but require more care.
Those are the different methods for growing strawberries that gardeners can employ in order to maximize the crop and performance based on their situation and the amount of work they want to put in.