Growing your own strawberries is a great way to enjoy fresh and juicy berries at home. While planting strawberries in the ground is a popular option, planting them in pots can be an excellent way to save space and control the environment. In this article, we will guide you through the process of planting bare root strawberries in pots, so you can enjoy a bountiful harvest in 2023.
Choosing the Right Pot and Soil
When planting strawberries in pots, it is important to choose the right size pot. A 12-inch pot is ideal for growing one strawberry plant. Make sure the pot has drainage holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging. Use a good quality potting mix with added organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, to provide the nutrients the plants need.
Preparing the Bare Root Strawberries
Bare root strawberries are dormant plants that have been dug up and stored without soil. To prepare them for planting, soak the roots in water for one hour before planting. Trim any dead or damaged roots with a sharp pair of scissors.
Planting the Strawberries
Fill the pot with the potting mix, leaving a 1-inch gap at the top. Make a small hole in the center of the pot and place the bare root strawberry plant in the hole, spreading out the roots. Cover the roots with soil, making sure the crown of the plant is just above the soil level. Water the plant thoroughly.
Caring for the Strawberries
Strawberries need regular watering, especially during hot and dry weather. Water the plants when the top inch of soil is dry. Fertilize the plants every two weeks with a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 formula. Trim any runners that appear to encourage the plant to focus on fruit production.
Protecting the Strawberries
Strawberries are susceptible to pests and diseases, so it is important to protect them. Cover the plants with bird netting to prevent birds from eating the fruit. Use organic pest control methods, such as spraying the plants with neem oil or using insecticidal soap, if necessary. Remove any diseased leaves or berries immediately.
Harvesting the Strawberries
Strawberries are ready to harvest when they are red and plump. Pick the berries when they are fully ripe, as they will not ripen further once picked. Use scissors to cut the stem just above the berry to avoid damaging the plant.
Storing the Strawberries
Store freshly picked strawberries in the refrigerator for up to three days. Do not wash the berries until you are ready to eat them, as washing can cause them to spoil more quickly. You can also freeze strawberries for later use by washing them, removing the stems, and placing them in a single layer on a baking sheet in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the berries to a freezer bag or container.
Planting bare root strawberries in pots is a great way to enjoy fresh and delicious berries at home. By following these tips, you can ensure that your plants are healthy and productive, and that you have a bountiful harvest in 2023. Happy planting!