Gardening Guide, How to Grow Sweet Strawberries

Even if you don't have a huge garden you can grow strawberries. Here's how to grow sweet strawberries in your garden.

Whether you have a small, or large backyard garden, you can grow strawberries. You can even grow strawberries if you don’t have a garden at all. Strawberries are such a great fruit to grow in the garden. They do really well when you have the right conditions and pick the right variety of strawberries to grow in your area. Here’re some tips for how to grow sweet strawberries in your garden.

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Types of Strawberries

There are three main types of strawberry plants, Day Neutral, Everbearing and June bearing. The Day Neutral plants don’t rely on day length to set flower buds. They will also continue to set flowers and produce for the season and as long as conditions are good.

Everbearing Strawberries don’t produce all season long like you might think. But they do bear fruit 2-3 times in a growing season. They usually will produce fruit in the early spring or summer and then again in the late summer or early fall. I know the name is a little misleading. I have a few in my strawberry patch.

June Bearing Strawberries produce once per growing season. Now you might think that is a drawback that they only produce once, but they produce very well. This is the type of berry I grow. I have a few Everbearing ones but the majority of my plants are the June Bearing and they produce really well each year.

Planting Strawberries

I purchase plants from my local nursery. Make sure to purchase plants that do well for the area you live in. In my area, the Hoods and Rainier berries do really well. Those are the main two types I grow. Nice sweet berries that produce really well.

Plant the strawberry plants early in the season. Be sure to dig a hole deep enough to accommodate the roots without bending them. But be sure to keep the crown of the plant at ground level. When planting be sure to allow room between the plants. Plant the plants about 20 inches apart.

Here's a gardening guide for how to grow sweet strawberries

Growing Conditions

Be sure to plant the strawberry plants where they will get 6-10 hours of sunlight a day. The soil should be loamy and well drained. Raised beds are a great option for strawberries because they drain well.

Strawberries like a slightly acidic soil. Amending the soil with acid fertilizer, or adding coffee grounds can make the soil more acidic. Avoid planting strawberries in an area of the garden that recently grew tomatoes, peppers or eggplant.

Strawberries are sprawling plants, so they need room to spread out. The main plant will send out a new plant or runners. The runners in turn send out new plants or runners too. So be sure to give them room to spread out. I usually try to keep the runners in the main area by placing them back into the main patch before roots form. When the plants get too dense I remove the poor preforming ones or I gift the extra plants to friends and neighbors.

Caring for Strawberries

Strawberries need about an inch of water a week. When the plants are producing runners or flowers the need for water increases. So be sure to keep your strawberries watered well. Mulching also helps to retain moisture in the soil and keep weeds down.

Keeping weeds under control in the strawberry patch is important. To deter weeds you can use mulch around the plants or place black plastic down and cut holes to expose the strawberry plants. The plastic keeps the weeds down, helps to retain moisture, and helps to combat mold.

After the harvesting is done, apply a nice layer of compost on top of the strawberry plants. When the cold weather comes or after the first few frosts, cover the strawberry plants with a layer of mulch to protect them for the winter. I don’t usually mulch mine, but I do leave the maple and oak leaves on top of the plants for the winter. Remove mulch in the spring after the danger of frost has passed.

Here's a gardening guide for how to grow sweet strawberries

Strawberry Pests

Slugs and snails can be a real problem in the strawberry patch. I can’t tell you how many times I have picked up a perfect looking strawberry to find it has been nibbled on the other side by a slug. Using slug and snail bait if slugs are a problem is a good option.

You might also need to net or use row covers on your strawberries to keep birds and squirrels out of them too. I know I battle the squirrels each year for the strawberries in our garden.

Harvesting Strawberries

I love having home grown strawberries. They are so much better than the store bought berries, so sweet, delicious, and full of flavor. The strawberries will be ready to harvest about 4-6 weeks after blossoming. When you pick the strawberries, be sure to pick them off the stem and leave the green cap on them. Harvesting time will last about 3 weeks.

To keep the harvested strawberries, place the unwashed berries in the refrigerator. The strawberries will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator. If longer storage is needed, you can wash and freeze the strawberries.

Here are recipes to use your homegrown strawberries in. I like to make jam with strawberries. This strawberry freezer jam is easy to make. If you have raspberries on hand too, you might try this strawberry raspberry freezer jam. If you have rhubarb also, this roasted strawberry and rhubarb jam is so good. Or maybe make a batch of strawberry cream frosting to go on cupcakes. It’s so good.

Even if you don't have a huge garden you can grow strawberries. Here's how to grow sweet strawberries in your garden.

Limited Space Gardening

If you have limited space in your garden, strawberries can be grown in containers. You can purchase strawberry pots, which are deep pots with open spaces for each strawberry plant. Another way to grow strawberries is in a hanging container. In a square foot garden you can plant up to four strawberry plants per each square foot.

Companion Plants

A few plants that strawberries grow well next to are, peas, beans, borage, spinach, and lettuce. Plants to avoid are cabbage, tomatoes, and peppers.

That’s my best tips for how to grow sweet strawberries in your backyard garden. Do you have any tried and true tips for growing great strawberries? If you do please scroll down and share them in the comments below.



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19 thoughts on “Gardening Guide, How to Grow Sweet Strawberries”

  1. This is really helpful. Of course, since we have no idea what we’re doing around here, our strawberry plant (I couldn’t even tell you what kind we have. Shall we call it the Home Depot variety?) is right next to the red pepper plant. We had a few strawberries though. Of course, I’d love to know what creature has been nibbling on them. It isn’t eating the whole strawberry. Just taking bites.

    1. When I first started growing strawberries I didn’t know the difference between varieties either. But it’s good to hear you were able to get a few strawberries this year off your plant.

      If you have seen nibbling but the whole strawberry is not eaten, my bet would be slugs. I have the same problem with mine, if I don’t use slug bait.

  2. Hi
    I have strawberries plants and got very small ones. I love your article with all the ideas how to get the best berries. I would like to have recipes of jams which you mentioned in your article.

    1. Almas, I underlined the links in the article. I’m sorry if they weren’t showing up for you. I know sometimes it hard to see them with just the change in color. Sorry about that. You can click on the link and it will take you to the recipe. Let me know if you have any trouble at all.

  3. Thank you for this post, great read! The only little tidbit I want to throw in is for the snail and slug repellent. Use crushed up egg shells! They add great things to your soil as well as when placed on on the surface of your soil are a completely natural repellents against these little pests.

  4. Last year I was getting ready to make strawberry jam and found that I didn’t have the full amount needed. I had frozen some black plums earlier so I decided to top off with those to get the right amount needed. Turned out to be the tastiest strawberry jam I had ever made.

  5. We tried growing some this year, my boy managed to eat 1-2!! Most were nibbled or completely gone when we went to pick them (weren’t ripe enough when we initially saw them) but we haven’t had a lot of fruit…we’ve had plenty of ‘new growth-plants?’ Not sure if I was supposed to sever the link to produce fruit? Complete novice 🙂

    1. Esin, We didn’t get much fruit the first year we had our strawberries but the next year we had a good crop. If you have critters eating your fruit, it might be birds or squirrels. It might help to cover your plants with netting to discourage the critters. You can clip off the new baby plants but I never bother. I just let them grow. I’ve heard if you clip the new plants it can help the plant produce better you might give it a try for next year and see how it goes. I hope some of these suggestions help.

  6. Blossom Dennis

    This is just a question. I’m living in Chicago where the weather is sometimes cold or hot. I have planted some strawberries in a hanging bag and they are now putting out flowers but I do not know when I can hang it outside due to the weather conditions. Could you please tell me when I can do so. Thank you so much.

    1. You should be good to put them outside now it looks like the last frost date was in April for your area. I know our strawberries have a few green berries now. Can’t wait to be picking strawberries out of our garden.

  7. I’m in KY with plants in their 3rd year. Went from pots to a 4×4 ft raised box. My plants are loaded with berries but ants are eating them. I have a very cool pop up cover on them. my issue is ants and too thick. What can I do at this point.

    1. Sharon, Can you bait the ants before they get to the strawberries? Are they coming up somewhere away from the strawberries and traveling in? If they are you could use a homemade ant bait I’ve found to work really well for sugar ants. I use 1 part yeast, 1 part borax (you can find borax in the laundry aisle of the store) and 1 part sugar. I sprinkle it in their path to lure them to take it. It usually works well to get rid of a nest in a few days, if it stays dry. You’ll have to reapply if it gets wet. It might be worth a try.

      1. Shelly. They are coming all around and I’m wondering do you think I can sprinkle this mixture in the dirt around the plants.

        1. Sharon, you said you have a raised bed, is there a trail where the ants are coming up and into the bed/ If so I would put some of the bait right there outside the raised bed. I’m not sure if the borax would be safe around the strawberries. It could kill the strawberries or harm the plants, I’m just not sure so I’d keep it out of the garden bed. But if you could place it outside the bed where you see a trail of ants coming and going that would be best. I hope you can get control of them. Do you have aphids? Sometimes when you see a lot of ants there are aphids too.

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