What containers most successful for strawberries?

emcd124(5)March 11, 2012

I've tried searching for old posts, but most seem to be very specific questions. Please forgive a more general question:

Last year I tried planting a single strawberry plant in the ground and it was dismal. it produced maybe three strawberries, all tiny, but we only got to eat one because the other two the stems weren't strong enough to hold them and they were laying on the ground and got damaged (from water or slugs?).

So this year I was thinking about doing strawberries in some kind of container to keep the fruit from rotting on the ground. I was tempted by those hanging bag style ones.

As an eager but somewhat inexperienced newbie...

1. what kind of container would you recommend for the best chances of success with strawberries?

2. would you suggest in-ground instead of containers?

3. if you do strawberries in containers are you still supposed to not harvest the first year so they grow bigger and harvest the next year?

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rina_

Don't grow them now, but did years ago; outside in the garden. I find it important to put down mulch of straw (you can use layer of newspaper, even plastic...but may not lok so great) so the fruit does not touch soil/does't get splashed in rain.
I am sure there are many ideas, here are few links:

http://www.gardeningclan.com/grow-strawberries-container.html

http://www.gardeningchannel.com/how-to-build-a-strawberry-planter-tips-and-plans/

http://www.greenhousecatalog.com/earthbox

http://www.netmums.com/activities/in-the-garden/gardening-growing-veg-strawberries

http://www.self-sufficient.co.uk/Grow-Strawberries-in-Hanging-Baskets.htm

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 3:42PM
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emcd124(5)

I know that there are different options. As far as I can tell the most common are: 1) a regular pot, 2) one of those strawberry pots with multiple openings, 3) the hanging bags approach, 4) in the ground

But I cant seem to find really good reviews, so I was hoping some people on here could speak from experience about which method really worked best for them (and whether it would also work for a newbie)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 8:32PM
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DaMonkey007(10b - Miami)

I'm growing strawberries for the first time myself. A while back, my wife and I were at Epcot during an Orchid showcase of some kind, can't remember exactly what it was. Anywho, we bought this killer pot hanger thingamajigger....lol...I have no idea what to call it. You can see it in this picture, on the far left. It's actually attached by a chain to the pool screen frame. I'm using it this year as a Strawberry Hotel!

In that photo, the strawberries are in small orchid pots, they love them. I'm just noticing that there are a few pots missing in that photo...lol...I must have taken them down to water and got sidetracked! Normally its filled up with lil' stawberry tenants!! They are planted in a modified 5-1-1 (turface instead of peat) and get daily 1/8 strength fertigation. They are only a few weeks old and growing very quickly. Just this weekend I moved them up into like 1/2 gallon unglazed clay pots. As you can see, they are quite happy, pumping out little berries, and the nice thing is, if they make it past the pot edge they are out in the open for all to see....and they don't get into trouble with bugs or fungus!

I hope that helps!

PJ

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 12:42PM
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briergardener_gw

PJ,
your strawberries look fine. What do you use for "1/8 strength fertigation"?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 8:11PM
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DaMonkey007(10b - Miami)

Hi briergardener!
I use Miracle Grow 24-8-16 w/ micros, diluted to 1/8 strength, plus about 1 tsp of white vinegar per gallon.

PJ

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 8:10AM
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queensinfo

why vinegar? help keep the soil acidic?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 10:14AM
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DaMonkey007(10b - Miami)

Hey there queenskitchen!
Yes, that's part of it. Adding vinegar will nuetralize alkalinity AND lower ph. High alkalinity levels consistantly present in your soil solution can raise the soil ph over time. Additionally, uptake of nutrients is much more favorable when the ph of your soil solution is significantly lower than most peoples tap water. The objective is to get your fertigation solution down to the mid 5's prior to application.

PJ

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 12:21PM
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queensinfo

thanks PJ. this will be the first year growing strawbs for me (in flowerboxes) and i already have a bunch of leftover MG in that same formula. that was part of what i was attempting to make the 5-1-1 for. I may give up on the screening and attempt a 5-2 with perlite. i may try it in a small container and water to see how quickly it runs out.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 4:02PM
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doginthegarden

I have several strawberry pots - the big terracotta ones with many holes on the sides for the plants and a planting area at the top - and several generic pots of various sizes, including a hanging pot. The first lot of a dozen small strawberry plants last year turned into many dozen this year after they put out runners which I clipped and planted. Now they have a lot of fruit coming along and are growing vigorously despite this being a very dry winter. The key with the strawberry pots is water - you can't get enough water to the roots via the little plant holes on the sides with plants sticking out of them. So I installed a small terra cotta pot in the center of the top, flush with the soil surface and balanced on another pot that was upside down inside the pot, and water heavily through them, so the water gets deep inside the pot to the plant roots. Next one I put together I think I'll use an old one liter milk bottle with holes poked in it, to get slightly better water distribution. The plants in other more normal pots just need regular water. Anyway the strawberry pots are suited to the task and handle a lot of plants in a smallish footprint. HTH sb

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 4:20AM
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gardengal48

There's always some yahoo in the crowd that will disagree and in this case, it's me!!

I think strawberry pots are a waste of time. Unless you get the largest you can find, the individual holes are simply too small to support a fully mature plant. And watering is an issue, although a perforated PVC pipe in the center of the pot does help to get water properly down to the lower plants. And since strawberry plants need to be replaced every couple of years, what do you do with the runner babies until then? IMO, strawberry pots are much better used as an herb garden or for planting up succulents. But that's just me.....:-)

I'd prefer to plant strawberries in the ground but where that is not possible, the bags work very well for at least a single season. Again, I find that the plants should be be replaced annually to get the best results.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 7:23PM
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doginthegarden

LOL I hear you. I was quite skeptical when I set them up in the strawberry pots, was aware of the issues with them. I inherited several strawberry pots with the house we bought. I was going to put succulents in them and then thought well I'll try strawberries in them once and then I'll know what I'm talking about when I tell people how compromised they are for actually growing strawberries. So I have been surprised how well they work out. But yes getting water in deep is key.

I clipped the runners and planted them, some in another strawberry pot and some in other pots. I guess they will get a bit bigger in the other pots but so far they all look good. The newer runner plants look better and have more flowers/fruit than the couple of remaining mother plants from last year, which are looking old and tired now.

Eventually I'll put in a bed for strawberries as I think that'll be best for them, but probably not this year, am building some other beds first.
sb

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 6:52PM
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