Summertime strawberries are oh so delicious and the signal that the dog days of summer are almost upon us.
I have friends who like to brag about how strawberries grow wild up the Pacific Coast and in most of the Midwest and how easy it is to just stop your car and pick a few berries on your afternoon drive.
But what if you are like me and don’t live in those areas? Great news for you – growing strawberries is super easy and you can grow your very own strawberry patch or grow them in a container! Here are some tips on how to grow strawberries this summer.
Garden centers will love to sell you a strawberry pot, and please grab one if you like the look of the container, but you don’t need it. The reasons these are so popular are that strawberries produce new plants by sending out runners, or roots that spread above ground. It is easy to place a runner in an empty dirt spot below the mother plant in the top of the strawberry pot. Once established, you can cut the runner and the baby plant will grow great and send out runners of its own.
If you have a regular container, you can easily plant a strawberry plant in that. As it sends out its runners, just bury the node, which is easy to identify, as it will send out leaves in the middle of the runner. Once that node is resting on the soil, it will grow roots and establish itself.
To have a strawberry patch, plant 4” plants about 12-16 inches apart. As the plant’s runners take off, they will populate the entire area. In a few short weeks you will start to have cute little white flowers with big yellow centers. Little strawberries grow once the bees have come and done their pollinating job.
Strawberries are fast to come to harvest and you can start popping the little red berries into your mouth in as little as 30 days after transplanting. For for beginner gardeners, start with transplants. If you have a green thumb, pick out a few different varieties from seed.
Strawberries can have problems with ants, as those little guys love the berries! That’s ok, the plants should produce enough berries for both you and the ants. Or, if you are like me, you can try some natural pest deterrents for your garden!
If your strawberries are producing faster than you can eat them – hard to believe I know – then think about freezing them for winter. Most strawberries also make an amazing jam or preserves. Another trick is to freeze strawberry puree into ice cubes and drop into your water glass or margarita pitcher all summer long. You can even use them in this Strawberry and Banana smoothie recipe or just serve them up for dessert with my homemade whipped cream recipe!
Enjoy growing strawberries this year whether you go the traditional strawberry pot route, or have a lovely strawberry patch gracing your garden.
Will you be growing strawberries this summer?
You might want to check out these other tips for planting your summer garden: