Planting Bareroot Strawberries

topnotchveggieJune 11, 2006

I know it's very late in the season to plant any berry this year, but I am waiting for a shipment of bareroot strawberries that should be here very soon.

I would like to plant the everbearing bareroots in pots, so I am inquiring to see how large a pot/container I should purchase? Do you recommend a style or company? What type of soil and amendments should be added? How many bareroots should be planted per pot? Plase feel free to add any additional information you think I am missing on successfully growing these berries, since this is my forst time using containers and growing strawberries. Thank you.

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username_5(banned for no reason)

They make actual strawberry pots. They are usually terracotta or plastic that looks like terracotta and they have holes on top as well as the sides. The plants will colonize the entire pot. Put one plant per hole.

If you were growing in the ground you would generally plant one per sq ft and allow it to send out runners. By end of season the entire area is full.

If you translate that into a conventional pot with a single, large opening on the top, you can put 3 or so in a 12" pot and just let it go wild.

They aren't terribly difficult, just keep the soil from going bone dry. Amendments really aren't necessary, any old potting mix will do then just water and fertilize regularly including after they bear fruit.

You can also build your own strawberry container using a shallow box in a box. You could use plastic, wood, whatever.

The bottom box is largest. The interior box should leave 6-12 inches of the bottom box sides exposed for planting. You can stack as many boxes as you have room for. Only the bottom box needs to have a bottom (and drainage holes, of course.) You can create a strawberry 'mountain' this way. They are quite hardy plants and are fun to grow.

Just beware those wasscly wabbits. They enjoy taking a single bite out of each and every one.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 4:47PM
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tuesdayschild

I had outstanding luck for some 7 years with strawberries in Alameda CA in a "strawberrry tree" -- I can't for the life of me remember where I saw the idea (my guess is probably Sunset Magazine), but it worked tremendously -- huge, delicious berries -- enough for 2 people for breakfast every 2 days throughout the season. Bigger than I've ever gotten in the ground. Let's see if I remember the method....

Equipment:
1 large, black plastic pot with big nursery-type drainage holes -- 20 Gal? Chicken wire, 36-48" width, suffiicient to make a 9" diameter tube. Spaghnum moss to line the tube. Potting soil, polymer crystals, and chicken manure.

Method:

Soak the moss for 30 min in water.

Make your potting mix 4 parts good potting soil, 1 part chicken poop, an appropriate sprinkling of polymer crystals for moisture absorption/distribution (use the new ones not to break down into indigestible salts or whathavyous).

Fill the pot to within 4" of the top with your potting mix. Roll the chicken wire and "pin" the ends to create a tube about 9" in diameter. Plop the end of the tube in the dirt of the pot and plant and fill the remaining 3" margin of the pot with dirt and 4-5 strawberry plants.

begin building the core of the "tree" up the tube, by layering the spaghnum moss up the inside of the tube and filling with potting mix and chicken manure. About 5" above your pot-level strawbs, pop your first tube strawbs (about 3 or 4 around the tube, I used 3, they said 3 or 4) in through the wire and distribute their roots over the tamped-down dirt in the tower. Layer more spagnum around them up the tube and fill in and tamp down the dirt above them. Set your next circle of strawbs offset to the first circle and repeat the tower buildup. Set in one more ring the same way and plant one little guy at the top of the tube. You end up with one pot ring and 3 tower rings plus the little guy at the top.

If you use strawberries with runners, take a few runners and poke them into the moss through the chicken wire throughout the season (cut off the rest). They'll become next season's champs. Water and fertilize in two places 1: through the top of the tower, 2 straight into the pot around the tower. I only bought plants twice in 7 years. Mostly the runners were enough to keep the whole thing going beautifully.

One caveat: If you live in an area with ants, put your pot in a moated saucer, because the ants will flat-out kill you and plant every nasty they can find (aphids, etc.) in your tower.

Once I figured out the moating system (two saucers: a dry one under the pot inside a much larger one filled with water with a tiny dab of bleach or "first strike" to deal with the mosquito issue), the only pests I had were spider mites and they were pretty easy to nail with such a small area.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 11:47PM
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