Just one of the many reasons I look forward to spring each year is for the beautiful, fresh and juicy berries. Typically you can find at least two pints of blueberries and two quarts of strawberries in our refrigerator on any given day, and occasionally you might come across a pint of raspberries, but they're usually polished off immediately since they tend to spoil so quickly.
Last year I decided that I wanted to try my hand at growing our own blueberries, so we planted two each of two different varieties of blueberry bushes. It remains to be seen just how well they'll produce this year, but I'm really looking forward to at least a small harvest.
As I was planning out my garden for this year, I started thinking that it might be nice to try growing strawberries, as well. Unfortunately, I don't really have room in my garden bed for them at the moment. We're planning to add a deck and patio to our backyard this year, so I'm not sure where the best spot is to put them so that I won't have to move them again later on. So my solution is to try growing strawberries in a pot!
Growing Strawberries In Pots
After doing a little quick research, I discovered that growing strawberries in pots is actually quite common in our gardening zone. It's not unusual for us to see frosts as late as early May, so growing strawberries in pots makes it very easy to protect the plants from harsh weather by moving them inside.
I picked up these four little Bonnie Allstar strawberry plants in the Walmart Garden Center. These are June-bearing plants that will ripen in late spring/early summer, depending on your zone. If you prefer a plant that will continue to produce berries all summer long, look for an ever-bearing variety.
I also picked up a bag of Nature's Care organic potting mix, a gorgeous white ceramic planter, and one of these Garden Genius lightweight pot fillers. Yes, I could have skipped the pot filler and saved myself a little money by using rocks, but knowing that I'll likely be moving this pot around indefinitely, saving the extra weight seems like a wise idea.
The white ceramic pot was a bit of a splurge at $24.72, but a good planter is worth the investment. With a little care, you can enjoy their beauty for many years. But if you're looking for a less expensive alternative, I've been very impressed with the Better Homes and Gardens offerings.
Tips for Growing Strawberries In Pots
- Choose a pot that's at least 6" deep with a drainage hole. Strawberries need well-drained soil, so this is another good reason to use one of the lightweight pot fillers I mentioned earlier.
- Plant the strawberry plants about 4-6" apart. Remove the plants from their container, separate the roots, and make sure that the crown of the plant is above the soil line.
- If you're planting in early spring, pinch off any flowers or buds so that the fruit doesn't develop too early.
- Place your strawberry pot in a sunny location, and keep the soil consistently moist. Containers tend to dry out much more quickly than garden beds, so check them daily. Moisture is the key to plump, juicy berries!
- Harvest your strawberries when they're fully formed and uniformly red, as berries won't continue to ripen once picked.
I'm not expecting a large harvest this year, since retail plants are usually in their first year of growth, but if I have a successful small harvest next year, I'll definitely be planting a few more containers. Strawberries are a perennial plants, so my plan is to move them to the garage during our coldest months, and they should come back even bigger next spring.
Have you successfully grown strawberries in containers? If so, do you have any other tips to share?
For more outdoor project ideas to beautify your home and lawn, check out the Where America's List Gets Done page on Walmart.com.