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How to Grow Strawberries in Raised Garden Beds

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Imagine stepping into your backyard on a warm summer morning and plucking a perfectly ripe, juicy strawberry straight from your own raised garden bed. These perennial plants are popular for a reason: they’re one of the easiest fruits to grow and they produce delicious, sweet strawberries.

No matter how much space you have, you can easily grow delicious strawberries in your own backyard or strawberry bed. There are many types of strawberries to grow in the home garden, some in early spring and others in summer time, but no matter when you’re planting strawberries, just know it’s always a good idea. 

Let’s find out how to successfully cultivate strawberries in raised garden beds. From selecting the perfect location to harvesting your homegrown berries, I’ll guide you through each step to ensure a sweet and successful strawberry harvest. 

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Get ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor and start growing your own delicious strawberries today!

Why Grow Strawberries in Raised Beds

If you’re wondering why raised beds are a great way to grow one of the most popular small fruits, then take note. I think it may  just be the easiest way to get a great harvest no matter what strawberry variety you choose:

  1. Improved Drainage: Raised garden beds typically have better drainage than traditional garden plots, which can be particularly great for strawberry plants that prefer well-drained soil. Excess moisture can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases in strawberries, but raised beds allow water to drain away more efficiently, helping to maintain perfect growing conditions.
  2. Weed Control: Raised garden beds can help minimize weed growth, which is important for strawberry plants since they can be sensitive to competition from weeds. By elevating the growing area, raised beds make it easier to spot and remove weeds, reducing competition for nutrients and sunlight and allowing the strawberry plants to thrive.
  3. Better Soil Quality: With raised garden beds, you have more control over the soil composition, allowing you to create an ideal growing environment for strawberries especially if you’re struggling with compacted or clay soil. You can add organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, to enrich the soil and improve its texture and fertility. This can promote healthier root development and increase yields of strawberries. Additionally, raised beds can help to prevent soil compaction, which can restrict root growth and inhibit nutrient uptake in traditional garden plots.

 I clearly love growing many things in raised beds, and if you’re considering adding some to your yard or adding onto an already existing garden, check out my full post for DIY Raised Bed to see how easy it is to make raised bed gardens at home!

Selecting the Right Location for Your Raised Garden Bed

Whether it’s your first year or you’re an old hat at growing strawberries, selecting the right location is key to ensuring a bountiful harvest. Location, location, location isn’t just a saying for realtors; we gardeners really live by that statement as well. Here’s what you’re looking for in a growing location for your strawberries in raised beds:

  • Choose a spot that receives plenty of sunlight, as strawberries thrive in full sun. Look for a location that gets at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day to help your strawberry plants produce the sweetest and juiciest berries. 
  • Make sure the area is well-drained to prevent waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot and other issues. Even with raised beds, if it’s a low spot in your yard with poor drainage, then low raised beds can be affected. 
  • Don’t put it out of sight, out of mind. Gardens thrive when there’s a person checking in on it, and when garden beds are placed out of the way, they can also be neglected. (Ask me how I know.)

If you’re not exactly sure where the best spot in your yard is, take a second to create a sun map of your yard. See my full instructions on How to Make a Sun Map. 

This will give you all of the information you need to know what the best growing places are in your yard, not just for raised beds, but for any new plants you’d like to add to your landscape. By carefully selecting the perfect location for your raised garden bed, you’ll set the stage for a successful strawberry-growing season. 

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The Best Soil for Strawberries in Raised Garden Beds

The million dollar questions is always, what soil will get me the best results? As a former teacher of mine used to say, “a five dollar hole for a fifty cent plant.” What you grow in matters because soil is alive with organisms, and dead soil won’t grow much. 

When it comes to choosing the best soil for growing strawberries in raised garden beds, there are a few key factors to consider:

  • First and foremost, strawberries prefer soil with good drainage that is rich in organic matter. 
  • A good quality garden soil with a mix of compost, peat moss, and perlite or sand can help create the ideal growing environment for your strawberry plants. See my instructions for how to make your own raised bed soil mix; it’s a good choice and so much cheaper than bagged soil from your local garden center.
  • A slightly acidic soil pH around 6.0-6.5 is great for strawberries. 
  • Take a few soil samples and get a soil test before planting to ensure it falls within this range, and amend it as needed. 

By providing your strawberry plants with nutrient-rich, well-draining soil, you’ll give them the best chance to thrive and produce a good harvest of delicious berries.

Choosing the Best Strawberry Varieties for Your Raised Bed

A friend who farmed strawberries for years always had the most delicious varieties of berries, and they were sweeter and juicier than anything you could find at the store. Home gardeners have the freedom to choose the varieties, from june-bearing strawberries to day-neutral strawberries, that suits your tastes and your plans for those berries. 

When it comes to choosing the best strawberry varieties for your raised bed, it’s important to consider factors such as your climate, desired strawberry size, and preferred flavor profile. Some popular varieties for raised garden beds include:

  • A June-bearing variety such as Sparkle from Stark Brothers’ Nursery is a great choice. 
  • Everbearing strawberries like ‘Seascape’ and ‘Albion’, which produce fruit throughout the growing season. Try this Albion from Gurney Seed Company
  • For those looking for a classic strawberry flavor, ‘Chandler’ and ‘Honeoye’ are excellent choices. Try this Honeoye from Stark Brothers’ Nursery

Experiment with different varieties to see which ones thrive in your specific raised bed environment, and enjoy a variety of flavors and sizes in your strawberry harvest.

strawberry plants

Watering and Fertilizing Strawberry Plants

Now that you’ve chosen the best strawberry varieties for your raised bed, how are you going to take care of them? Let’s dive into the proper watering and fertilizing techniques to keep your plants healthy and productive. 

Strawberries need consistent watering, especially during the hot summer months, to ensure they develop juicy, flavorful fruit. Make sure to water deeply, but avoid soaking the leaves to prevent diseases like powdery mildew. Drip irrigation or a system like Garden Grids works well for strawberries. 

Fertilize your strawberry plants regularly with a good quality organic fertilizer to provide essential nutrients for growth and fruit production. Be mindful not to over-fertilize with a nitrogen heavy fertilizer, as this can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of fruit development. Try Espoma’s Berry Tone, which goes right on the soil surface and slowly releases. 

Managing Pests and Diseases in Your Strawberry Patch

As a Master Gardener, we always encourage gardeners to use IPM (Integrated Pest Management). This is simply a series of steps to follow if you’re having trouble with pests:

  1. Monitor: To effectively manage pests and diseases in your strawberry garden, it’s important to regularly inspect your plants for any signs of trouble.
  2. Identify pest and host accurately. Common pests that may attack your strawberry plants include slugs, aphids, and spider mites.
  3. Assess and consider economic or aesthetic consequences of the pests and treatments.
  4. Implement a treatment strategy using mechanical, cultural, biological, or chemical controls, or a combination of these strategies. For strawberry pests, you can combat these pests by hand-picking them off your plants, using barriers like copper tape to deter slugs, or applying organic insecticidal soap to control aphids and spider mites.
  5. Evaluate the success of your treatments

  In addition to pests, strawberries are prone to diseases such as gray mold, verticillium wilt, and powdery mildew. To prevent these diseases, avoid overhead watering, provide adequate air circulation around your plants, and promptly remove any diseased plant material. Consider using organic fungicides as a preventative measure against fungal diseases.

By staying vigilant and taking proactive measures to address pests and diseases in your strawberry garden, you can protect your plants and maximize your harvest. With a little extra effort and care, you’ll soon be enjoying the sweet rewards of your homegrown strawberries straight from your raised garden bed.

Harvesting and Storing Homegrown Strawberries

Now that you have successfully tended to your strawberry plants and protected them from pests and diseases, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. When the strawberries are ripe, they will be vibrant in color, plump, and fragrant. 

To harvest your strawberries, simply grasp the berry at the stem and gently twist it off the plant. Be careful not to pull too hard, as this can damage the plant. 

It’s best to harvest your strawberries in the morning when the fruit is cool and at its freshest. And if a heavy rain comes when the strawberries are ripe, you’ll want to harvest them as quickly as possible afterwards to keep them from rotting.

Once you have picked your strawberries, rinse them gently under cool water to remove any dirt or debris. Then, lay out on a clean towel to dry. Fresh strawberries are delicious on their own, but they also make a tasty addition to salads, desserts, and smoothies.

With your bountiful harvest of homegrown strawberries, you can savor the sweet and juicy flavor of your efforts. The satisfaction of growing your own strawberries in a raised garden bed is truly rewarding, and it’s a testament to your dedication and care as a gardener.

With the right location, soil, variety selection, watering, and pest management, you can have a thriving strawberry garden in your raised beds. By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy a plentiful harvest of delicious strawberries right from your backyard. 

So why wait? Start cultivating your own homegrown strawberries today and savor the sweet rewards of your labor. Remember, with the right know-how and a little bit of TLC, your strawberry garden will flourish and provide you with tasty treats for seasons to come. Happy gardening!

Chichi

Wednesday 24th of April 2024

This is a very interesting article! I’ve been wondering how to grow strawberries at home. My kids love strawberries. Thank you for all the helpful tips.

Sherry

Monday 22nd of April 2024

I grew up on a 100 strawberry farm when I was young. We tried growing strawberries in our back yard garden but they didn't grow well. I am going to try your raised garden beds method to see if I can get my own strawberries to grow. This is such helpful information for growing strawberries.