Our company garden has been flourishing in the last few weeks. Our peppers, tomatoes and onions are all set to venture out into the great outdoors later this week! For now we have decided that our company garden really needed a boost of sweetness. Therefore we raided our warehouse for supplies and headed outside to plant some strawberries! Strawberries are a great fruit for home growers. They grow great in container gardens, can be frozen, dried, made into preserves and make the best summer desserts!
We are planting Albion strawberries, which are an ever-bearing variety. Albion are firm with a long conical shape, excellent flavor, and will produce a continuous supply of berries throughout the growing season. The Albion variety can attract birds, slugs and snails. You can install scaring devices to protect against the birds or place nets over the plants. To help battle the slugs and snails you can use companion planting. Growing strawberries with onions is a natural way to ward off slugs and snails, plus the onions help the strawberries fight disease.
Strawberries love well-drained soil. If planting in the ground consider planting on a slope or in a raised bed. For planting in containers pick one with excellent drainage, or add drainage holes to a container of your choice. We will be planting ours in a Smart Pot, they have excellent drainage, are made from a breathable fabric and have the added bonus being customizable. What do I mean by customizable? I mean you can place your plants where ever you want! Simply use scissor to cut an X into the sides of the pot where you would like to place a plant.
Plants should be placed 12” apart, so we created 2 layers of plants, 5 plants on each layer. Make sure to offset the opening in the layers to give your strawberries lots of room. When placing your plants in the pot make sure you fan the roots, this will allow the roots to spread and take deeper hold in the soil.
The simplest way to plant in a multi tiered planter like our Smart Pot setup is to fill the pot with soil up to the first openings. Add our first set of plants, water, and then cover with soil. Fill soil up to the next level and repeat planting process. We ended up with 2 bonus plants in our pack of 10 so we planted those in the top opening of the Smart Pot. We also planted some yellow onion seedlings on this top layer since they are an excellent companion plant for strawberries.
Once your plant starts to flower you will want to remove the blooms until the middle of June. This will ensure a better crop of berries throughout the season. Drip irrigation is your best method of watering, but you can also give the strawberries a deep watering twice a week. Strawberries like their soil moist but not wet.
Check back next week when all our plants venture to the great outdoors!