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Strawberry Growing in Containers

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Strawberry Growing in Containers

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Overview

Strawberries grow well on a doorstep, balcony, patio or rooftop of an apartment, condo or townhouse. Container strawberries can thrive in any spot that gets sunlight. Hanging baskets, tiered pots and special strawberry pots all let you grow the maximum amount of strawberries in a small space.

Types of Strawberries

Standard strawberries yield one crop of fruit from late May to the end of June. Ever-bearing strawberries usually produce one crop in early summer and another in late summer. Day-neutral strawberries produce a few strawberries all summer long. Alpine strawberries don't have runners and produce a small crop of sweet, flavorful berries.These varieties can all be grown successfully in containers. Tristar does well in all regions in the United States. Hood, a June-bearing strawberry, does well in the Pacific Northwest. Allstar is a good variety for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Your local garden supply center ordinarily sells the varieties that do best in your climate. You can count on harvesting one cup from each plant the first year and four cups from each plant every year after that.

Planting

Most garden supply centers sell young strawberry plants in small plastic pots.This is the most dependable way to start plants in containers. Some nurseries sell plants in plastic bags with growing pouches that can be attached to a wall. Strawberries grow well in clay, plastic or wooden containers. Unglazed terracotta pots dry out and draw moisture from the soil. Strawberries are perennials that produce good yields for about three years. The second year produces the most and the best strawberries.To maintain good yields, replace your plants every two years. Although you can plant strawberry plants closer, planting them 10 to 12 inches apart lets their runners spread. Strawberries can be grown from seed, but this is rarely done

Soil

Plant strawberries in a potting mixture that contains compost, shredded bark, or peat moss and some grit or sand. Commercial potting soil will work. Strawberries require 8 inches of soil, but they do better in 12 to 14 inches, allowing their roots to fully develop. It is good to sprinkle an inch of compost on top. Make sure the bottoms of your containers have drainage holes.

Sun, Water and Fertilizer

Strawberries do best in the sun. Five or six hours of sun is best; more sun yields sweeter berries. Alpine strawberries grow in partial shade. Water your strawberries well throughout the growing season. Fertilize once every two weeks to a month with a balanced fertilizer or a 1-2-1 fertilizer formulated for flowers and vegetables. Follow the instructions on the label.

Hanging Basket

If space is limited, you can grow strawberries in a hanging basket; your plants will tumble over the edges. Hanging baskets should be at least 12 inches wide.

Strawberry Tower

A strawberry tower, a tier of planting pots, allows you to harvest more strawberries from a small amount of space. The bottom pot is usually 24 inches wide; the middle pot is 16 to 18 inches wide; the top is 8 to 10 inches wide.Stack the pots and plant strawberries 4 inches apart around the edges of the bottom and middle pots; fill the top pot with plants.

Strawberry Pots

Special, urn-shaped strawberry pots have wide mouths with side pockets that also have soil to grow strawberries. You can plant two or three plants in the main space and one plant in each pocket. Strawberry plants form runners. Instead of planting strawberries in the pockets, guide the runners from the main plant into the side pockets; when the young plants get established in the pockets, snip the stems from the mother plant. You get more strawberries using the first method; the second method is cheaper.

Keywords: growing strawberries containers, growing strawberries pots, strawberries small space

About this Author

Richard Hoyt, the author of 26 mysteries, thrillers and other novels, is a former reporter for Honolulu dailies and writer for "Newsweek" magazine. He taught nonfiction writing and journalism at the university level for 10 years. He holds a Ph.D. in American studies.

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