Chills, beans and tomatoes on potted plants? There is nothing new in this. In India, many urban gardeners grow these kitchen vegetables on their balcony or patio – but how about strawberries? If you think they are too exotic or too hard to raise at home, think again!
Incredibly easy to grow strawberries have a compact and fast-growing habitus. As such, they can be grown almost anywhere – in terracotta pots, plastic pots or hanging baskets.
Fruit rich in vitamin C is full of flavonoids, antioxidants and phytonutrients that offer many health benefits.
In addition, domestic strawberries are organic, taste much better than in-store, and can save you serious money if you don’t have to pay supermarket prices – it costs an average of $ 40 to $ 60 a box of strawberries on the market, and the bottoms are often pale, pale and compressed.
Here’s a simple, step-by-step guide to help you grow strawberries at home.
1. Decide where you will grow the strawberries
As mentioned earlier, strawberries can also be grown on the balcony, terrace or window box. If horizontal space is limited, consider growing strawberries in a hanging basket or stacked planter – this will allow you to take advantage of the vertical growing space.
Keep in mind that a sunny place outside your home is the best place to grow strawberries, although with less than half a day of direct sunlight, you can get a slightly lower yield. Avoid windy places that prevent pollinating insects from reaching the flowers.
Tip: Plant alpine strawberries in more shady places (harder to source but available in some online nurseries) that require more care and patience but bring the same delicious fruit.
2. Reuse and recycle when selecting containers
Initially, you don’t have to invest in fancy containers or earthenware. You can even use 2-liter plastic bottles, wooden crates and recycled buckets to grow strawberries. However, whether you choose a pot made of clay, plastic, wood, or other material, make sure the depth of the soil is at least 12 to 14 inches to allow room for the plant’s root system to grow.
How many plants you can place depends on the width of the container, as place the plants about 10 to 12 inches apart so that they can spread horizontally.
Tip: There are several benefits to growing strawberries in any tub or bucket. Plants can be moved to keep track of the sun (which could enjoy more light than usual) or lifted off the ground to avoid the snails ’interest!
3. Get potted plants or “runners” of the right variety
Strawberry plants grow from “runners” (stems with buds that develop into new plants) that can be purchased at nurseries.
There are two main varieties of strawberries: the “June fruit” plants, which bear fruit in spring or early summer, and the “perennial” varieties, which can be harvested from early summer to early autumn. While it can take up to a year for varieties to grow in June, always-growing crops can produce a crop as early as the first year and allow the harvest to be extended for weeks or months.
Note that there are many varieties within each strawberry group and your local nursery can recommend some good varieties for the climate of the area.
Tip: It is best to buy conveyor belts just before planting them in the ground or in a container. If left in their store-bought pots for too long, their roots can become entrapped and become unhealthy, preventing them from growing well when transplanted.
4. Make a soil that will make your strawberries happy
Strawberries love the rich, clayey soil that drains well. Start with what you have and add plenty of organic matter (such as compost, shredded bark, or peat moss) as well as some sand or grit. The mixture of potting soil sold in most nurseries is sufficient. Make sure the soil is free of weed roots and there are drainage holes in the bottom of the tank.
Tip: If grown in a suspended basket, line the basket with sphagnum moss before placing it in soil to retain moisture for the plants. The sphagnum moss also allows the plant to grow out of the sides of the pot, which looks good.
5. Plant correctly
Place the plants in the soil, making sure that all the crowns (where the leaves protrude) are just above the surface and 10 to 12 inches apart – this is closer than in the soil and makes it easier to water them.
Strengthen the plants and water them to settle the soil around the roots. After planting with mulching (dry leaves) to reduce water loss due to evaporation and provide food for beneficial soil microbes. Runners with their minimal peak growth and often less rounded roots can appear quite severe. That’s normal, so don’t worry!
Tip: While potted strawberries can be planted at any time of the year, it’s best to plant them in the spring.
6. Super easy maintenance
To encourage flowering, feed on all-natural home-made fertilizers (a handful of leftover filter coffee grounds can work wonders every week) and water them regularly. However, don’t overdo the water – shallow roots need water in warm weather, but they don’t like to get soaked. You will soon see tiny green strawberries showing the fruit is “attached”!
Strawberries bloom and fruit in the cool months, from about October to February. In summer, it is very important to care for the plants carefully.
Keep in mind that strawberry plants are fertile for at least 2-3 years, but then need to be replaced. To renovate plants that grow in June next year, cut off their old leaves, taking care not to damage the middle stem (crown) of the plant. The eternals do not need this cut.
Tip: Put a little straw under the fruits to keep them clean and dry and deter the snails and snails. Wet fruit rot very easily.
7. Harvest happiness
Choose strawberries when they are bright red everywhere, ideally in the warmest part of the day, because then they are the tastiest. Eat them as soon as possible or turn them into delicious compotes.
In addition, cut the foliage after the crop so that only the central, young leaves remain intact. Conveyors need to be removed (unless you want to propagate new plants) for the plants to grow again – the more runners a mother plant has, the more resources / nutrients will come out of the mother plant.
Tip: Always take it so that the stem remains intact.
Read more: Home gardens that require very little space and time – Everything you need to know about vertical gardening!