Here in the Midwest (central IL to be exact), it’s the time to start getting all the plants ready and prepped that we are wanting to grow this coming season. Right now it is April 1st which is still too early to plant because there is still a chance of a freeze. If you are in a warmer climate where that freeze chance is over, then you are good to go! Today I’m going to provide you with some tips on how to grow strawberry plants either in the ground or in a raised bed / planter box. These plants in all the photos were bought and planted last year, so they are one year old.
You can either grow the strawberries in the ground with the dirt being worked up or tilled before planting. Or you can plant in a free standing wooden bed or bed on the ground with potting soil. The second option is going to be more expensive than the first, but also look a little more ‘put together’ if you are going for that beautiful garden look. The raised beds are great if you are older / have back problems because bending over to pick and care for the strawberries is hard on the back. Let’s be real here, it’s my dad who has been growing for years so he needs some extra back support (lol).
The easiest, most convenient way to plant because all you need is ground with dirt that has been worked up / tilled. Specifically for strawberries, they like an area with full sun and well drainage. Strawberries will not grow properly if they are sitting in puddles of water, so select ground that is well drained. Adding a fertilizer to the top five inches or so of the soil will help increase growth. As you can see from the photo below, the little nests / holes are where each strawberry plant is. The straw is used here because these have been planted in early April with a frost still possible, so we can cover the plant with the straw if needed to protect from frost. If you wait until after the frost period is over, you will not need the straw. The straw is also helpful to keep weeds away.
This is going to be the more beautiful option. Strawberries should grow the same no matter where they are planted. It depends on the garden ‘look’ you are going for. If you have extra time and money to design a beautiful garden, I would go this route. Growing the strawberries will be very similar as to growing in the ground, but you will need to purchase more top soil to fill the beds and keep an eye on the water level a little more. The soil will dry out a lot faster in a raised bed vs being in the ground.
As you can see from the photo above of our raised bed, there is chicken wire around it. That is to keep animals out. We have some cats (see the little cutie here) and other animals that come and go. You probably won’t need the chicken wire, but if you are experiencing issues with your plants being damaged this is a good option to try out.