A bed of strawberry plants.
Robbie Caponetto

Bare-Root Strawberry

The world is too full of strawberry-packed possibilities (shortcakes, ice creams, jams, preserves, or simple berries dipped in rich chocolate) to accept anything less than perfectly red and juicy fruit -- especially when it's so easy to grow your own.

Whether planted in the ground, a raised bed, or a large pot, homegrown strawberries area a summertime pleasure for any size garden and any gardener, regardless of skill. The only real secret is choosing the right variety of berry for your particular region.

A wooden raised bed filled with strawberry plants.
Robbie Caponetto

What You'll Need

Weed barrier cloth
7 (2-cuic-foot) bags potting soil
7 (2-cuic-foot) bags planting mix
1 (2-pound) bag 10-10-10- fertilizer
36 to 48 bare-root strawberry plants

The bounty you can expect from 3 feet by 10 feet by 18 inches bed

Amount of berries ripe for the picking: 1 1/2 pounds per square foot or 45 pounds total

What's a pound? a little under 2 pints or about 6 cups whole berries

You can buy a bed online at yardiac.com , or make this raised bed yourself in a few hours with our step-by-step plans and some basic tools.

A wooden raised bed filled with soil and small strawberry plants.
Robbie Caponetto

Step 1

Line the bottom of the bed with weed barrier cloth (found at garden centers). Fill raised bed with a combo of equal parts potting soil and planting mix and a few shovels of ordinary dirt -- our 3' by 10' by 18' bed took 14 (2-cubic-foot) bags of soil. Mix 6 cups of balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) into soil.

Furrows of soil with root plants.
Robbie Caponetto

Step 2

Create furrows 2 inches deep with a trowel handle, in rows 1 foot apart. Lay out bare-root plants 8 inches apart. Top-dress furrows with an extra handful of fertilizer, then while spreading roots, plant halfway up the crown (the hard section just above the roots).

Be careful: Don't plant too deep or roots may rot.

Soil with small strawberry plants and labels.
Robbie Caponetto

Step 3

Label with name; water well and keep evenly moist. In a few weeks expect leaves to begin sprouting, and in about two months, flowers.

Pruning strawberry plants.
Robbie Caponetto

Step 4

For an easier-to-maintain bed, and bigger fruit, cut any runners (long shoots that if left will root into soil and make new plants) that appear.

Note: Using a raised bed means plants can go in earlier (since the soil is already warm), and it's also easier to water and control pests.

A small garden shed with a bed of strawberry plants.
Robbie Caponetto

What Strawberries Want

Choose bare-root plants with large, firm crowns and healthy, light colored roots.

A good start: early spring planting in most regions, late winter in California.
Location: full sun (eight hours-plus daily)
Soil: rich and well-drained, enriched with plenty of compost
Water: consistent but soil should never be soggy
Food: initial feeding, then side-dress day-neutral varieties midsummer for second crop
Pest Control: snails, slugs, and birds love berries, too―beat them to it with handpicking, netting, or other organic solutions
Good Health: Avoid wetting leaves or fruit when watering (can cause rot), especially from flowering through harvest. Choose disease-resistant cultivars, and avoid planting where tomatoes were previously grown.

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