Strawberry shortcake... milkshakes and smoothies... strawberry topping on cheesecake. If your mouth is starting to water just reading these words, maybe it's time you started growing strawberries in your home garden. They take up only a small amount of space and are well suited to growing in containers, so you can enjoy fresh strawberries in the summer even if you live in an apartment with a small balcony. Birds and squirrels love this succulent fruit as much as humans, so consider growing your berries under a simple net to protect them from these marauders.
Growing Strawberry Plants Under a Net
Build a raised bed if you want to grow your strawberries in your garden. First weed an area about two feet by four feet and then dig in two shovelfuls of purchased cow manure or organic compost. You can build up the level of the bed by digging a shallow trench around the perimeter of your planting area and then pile the soil on top of the planting area. Level the area with a rake.
Plant your strawberry plants by digging holes about one foot apart. Make your planting holes large enough to accommodate the strawberries' root systems. Firm the soil around each plant gently with your palm or foot.
Lay a soaker hose around your plants because it will deliver water to their roots while keeping their foliage and fruit dry. This will prevent rotting of the fruit.
Spread a net with small holes over the entire bed. You can choose floating row cover if you prefer (Remay), or use a narrow gauge wire such as chicken wire.
Anchor your net or wire around the borders of the planting bed with rocks, bricks or "earth staples." (See Resources.)