Nothing beats the fresh picked, sweet flavor of strawberries just off the plant. As delicious as strawberries are, they are remarkably easy to grow. Strawberries are very versatile in their size requirements, and can be planted in a variety of ways including in patio containers, in hanging baskets, in vegetable gardens or in raised beds. At our farm in Oregon, our favorite method of growing strawberries is in a raised bed where we can control the soil pH. Raised beds also make it easier to work in the beds and provide a few additional degrees of warmth in the spring to help get the plants off and running.
Location, location, location: Just like real estate, where you locate your strawberry bed will have a lot to do with how successful your crop is. For best results, locate your strawberry bed in a location that will receive full sun for the majority of the day and in an area that also has convenient access to water. If you have deer or rabbit problems, you will want to keep your strawberry bed protected.
Select the varieties or varieties that work best for your USDA hardiness zone and eating requirements: There are two different types of strawberries; standard (June bearing) and ever bearing. June bearing produce a large crop all at once and are ideal for jams or freezing, and tend to be the better quality berries. ever bearing strawberries will produce throughout the summer for desserts and snacking. For best results we recommend planting both types of strawberries.
Good drainage and good soil equals high yields: Strawberries perform best in a sandy loam soil. If you are planting strawberries directly in the ground amend and prepare your soil properly to ensure good drainage and soil fertility.
Stay clear of 'hot' manure: If someone offers to 'give' you a load of 'free' manure, just say NO. Hot manure such as fresh horse, cow or chicken manure that can burn and damage delicate strawberry plants. Aged manure that is rarely composted correctly will provide you with years of weed seeds. If you are using a raised bed, prepare your raised bed with a good quality potting soil that also contains perilite for good drainage. Incorporate a quality organic fertilizer such as Down to Earth All Purpose fertilizer in at a rate of 1lb per 100 sq ft.