Container Growing: For Strawberries

If you like garden fresh produce or just enjoy raising your own fresh produce, but have limited space, container gardening is for you. In this article, we are going to look at container growing for strawberries.

Strawberries are one of the easiest fruits to grow especially in a limited space, that makes strawberries a perfect fruit for container gardening.

Before we discuss planting and caring for container raised strawberries, we will look at some of the health benefits of raising strawberries.

Nutrition

Strawberries are rich in the essential nutrients vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, and fiber. One cup of fresh strawberries contains 160 percent of the daily recommended quantity of vitamin C, for only 50 calories.

One cup of sliced, fresh strawberries, or 166 grams (g), contains a range of important nutrients in the following amounts:
● Calories: 53 kcal ● Protein: 1.11 g ● Carbohydrates: 12.75 g ● Dietary fiber: 3.3 g ● Calcium: 27 mg ● Iron: 0.68 mg ● Magnesium: 22 mg ● Phosphorus: 40 mg
● Potassium: 254 mg ● Vitamin C: 97.6 mg ● Folate: 40 micrograms (mcg) ● Vitamin A: 20 international units (IU)

Strawberries are also great dried, and eaten as a snack or packed in a child’s lunch as a healthy snack alternative.

Types Of Containers

Tier Planters; These containers come in a variety of sizes, with several different levels for planting upward in very limited space.

Raised Garden Bed: These are beds that are elevated off the ground, that provides an enclosed area around an earth type bed.

Strawberry/Herb bag; This is a hanging type of container made for a soft plastic material, that has various cutouts for plants.

Elevated Planter Table: This is a raised table that holds ground type planters at an elevated height (approximately 23 inches. depending on brand) To make the plants more easily accessible.

Tire Planters: This is a great way to make use of old tires. They can be placed directly on the ground and filled with soil. They can hold several plants and allow for new sprouts.

Planting And Growing

First, it is important to know the basics when it comes to selecting plants, and they type of container you want to grow in. When it comes to plants, one option is Bare Root this is basically the root system from which a new plant will grow. Another option is Seedlings, these are the young plants that have already started from the root.

Seedling, will establish themselves faster than the bare root crowns. It is recommended to plant these in 4 inch to 6 inch pots with loose soil, that will hold water but drain away excess.

● Spacing: Strawberry plants will spread out about 2 ft. in every direction. Small containers will need only 1 to 2 plants, but you can fill all the openings in a strawberry jar.

● Planting: Strawberries should be planted with their crown just above the soil surface. Make a small mound in the potting mix and spread the roots out over the mound. Then cover the roots, up to the crown, with the mix and water well. Add more potting mix if needed, after the initial planting mix settles.

● Site: Make sure your containers will receive at least 6 to 8 hours of sun so that you will get plenty of flowers and fruits. If the sunlight is coming from only one direction, rotate the container every 3 to 4 days, if possible. Just because your strawberries are in pots does not mean pests can’t reach them. Insects, birds and climbing creatures will still be attracted to your plants, so keep them protected with netting or fencing, if necessary.

Caring For Container Grown Strawberries

● Water: Water your strawberries whenever the soil feels dry about an inch below the surface. You don’t want the plants to be sitting in water or soggy soil, but you don’t want them to remain dry for days and start to wilt, especially while the fruits are forming. The soil in containers dries out faster than soil on the ground.

Long periods of hot, dry weather may require daily watering and as the plants grow more roots, they will need more frequent watering.

● Feeding: All container plants benefit from some supplemental feeding. Feed your strawberries every 3 to 4 weeks with a liquid fertilizer high in phosphorus.

● Winter protection: Strawberries produce best if they are allowed to be dormant in the winter. However, the roots may freeze in colder areas and some containers will crack if left out in freezing temperatures.

You can move your containers into an unheated garage or under a deck, for the season. Water only when the soil becomes excessively dry. You may also be able to aerate the soil and leave it in place.

Growing Regions

The United States is the largest producer of strawberries in the world, with the number 1 producing states being California and Florida.

In California, Strawberries are grown as a perennial crop, while in Florida they are grown as an annual crop.

Southern climates have been shown the be the most favorable region for growing strawberries, but due to the hearty and adaptive quality of the plant, strawberries can be successfully grown just about anywhere.

Obviously, Spring and Summer are peak growing seasons for strawberries however, under a controlled environment, they can be grown year round even indoors!

In Summary

Strawberries are an easy, fun, and healthy fruit to raise. Even if you live in the city, an apartment, or a location where soil is not suitable for growing healthy plants, you can still have great success with container planting.

It is relatively inexpensive and does not require a lot of time, and is a great way to get started in container growing.

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