Today, you’ll learn everything you need to know to grow strawberries from bare root strawberry starts at home in your own backyard.
Every year strawberries make the dirty dozen list due to a high volume of pesticides and chemicals used to produce large yields of strawberries. Those berries are then harvested and shipped to local grocery stores to be sold to consumers.
If you are trying to shift to a low toxin lifestyle or increase food security by growing your own food, bare root strawberries are a very easy place to start.
Strawberries are Perennial Plants
Perennial plants are plants that come back every year without having to be replanted from scratch.
Selecting bare root strawberry starts that thrive in your growing zone from a reputable nursery is the first step.
Where Can Bare Root Strawberries Be Grown?
Bare root strawberries can be planted in raised beds, pots, hanging baskets, the scale is up to you!
As long as you have a little bit of space, water, soil, and sunlight, the possibilities are endless.
Materials to Grow Bare Root Strawberries at Home
- Quality organic potting soil
- Your selected growing container
- Bare root strawberry starts
- Organic vegetable fertilizer (8-4-8 or make your own)
- Deer/Bird netting & scissors
- Wood/metal stakes – minimum 18 inches long
- Twine ore kitchen twist-ties
- Cardboard boxes (if starting raised beds)
- Watering can or hose
How to Grow Bare Root Strawberries at Home
Once the last frost date has passed, it’s time to begin planting your bare root strawberry starts!
1. Prepare Your Growing Containers
Be sure your containers or baskets are clean and have holes in the bottom for drainage.
Line raised beds with flattened cardboard at the base. This will stop weeds and grass from enjoying the rich nutrients you’ll be providing to your berries.
2. Prepare Your Soil
Next, dump in your potting soil. If you have access to manure or compost, do not hesitate to mix that in at this point. The soil should feel light and airy in your hands.
For pots and hanging baskets: Measure 1.5 tablespoons of organic vegetable fertilizer 8-4-8 per 12 inch diameter. Scratch into the soil with your finger tips.
For raised beds: Measure out ⅔ cup of organic vegetable fertilizer per 25 square feet, then scratch into the top layer of soil about 5 inches deep.
3. Plant Your Bare Root Strawberry Starts
Now separate your bare root strawberry starts and place each one about 6 to 8 inches apart.
Plant the crown of the plant so that it is level with the soil surface. Gently press the soil around the plant with your palm to ensure the plant is secure and wont sink down when watered.
4. Water Your Strawberries
When watering your plants, be sure not to spray right overhead. Use a light shower pressure directly on the soil around the plant to prevent the leaves from getting diseased.
How to Prevent Pests From Eating Your Bare Root Strawberries
There is nothing more frustrating than spending time and effort to grow bare root strawberry starts only to come out one morning to find rabbits, birds, or other little furry friends have eaten them first.
- Press three stakes down into the soil to form a triangle in your hanging baskets
- Four stakes to form a square in your standing pots
- 6 stakes, or more, around the edges of your raised beds.
Depending on the size and scale of your container, take the deer/bird netting and drape it over your stakes.
The net will need to cover the container passed the soil line.
Trim your needed netting (save the excess for future projects.)
Grab your twist-ties or twine and secure the netting to your stakes.
Gather the draped netting from the edges and tie shut.
You should be able to reach up into the netting to pluck your berries, but can also adjust the netting according to the growth of your plants.
How to Maintain Your Strawberry Patch at Home
Now that your patch is established you can utilize this space every year.
You will eventually notice your plants will send off ‘runners.’ This is how strawberries spread. Think of this as free baby plants!
All you need to do is trim off the runner from the parent plant and push the part that points down like a “v” into the soil. From there, it will root into the ground.
If you don’t trim off the runners and let them stick around, they will pull energy from the parent plant, reducing your strawberry yield.
How to Prepare Your Backyard Strawberry Patch for the Winter
Once your growing season comes to an end, the leaves of your plants will start to turn an orange-red color as they prepare to go dormant for winter.
At this point, you can trim back the foliage to about 2 inches from the soil line.
Next, take mulched up leaves from around your yard and cover the entire surface of your strawberry patch.
This will protect the roots as they go dormant from the environment while putting nutrients back into the soil.