How to Grow Strawberries:
Growing Strawberry Plants Organically

Learning how to grow strawberries is easy… almost too easy once they get going and start taking over neighboring walkways and plant space. Sweet, tangy and simply terrific, learning how to grow strawberries organically will give you a flavor unlike any you’ve tasted from the grocery store.

Strawberries love the sun and will do well in all types of well-drained soil.

How to Grow Strawberries: Plant Snapshot (Fragaria)

How to Grow Strawberries
  • Family: Rosaceae (Rose family)
  • Annual or Perennial? Perennial
  • Recommended varieties: Honeoye, earliglow, allstar, Ozark beauty
  • Cold tolerance: Hardy - Will survive hard frosts and can be planted 2 to 3 weeks before the average date of the last 32 degree F (0 degree C) temperature in spring.
  • When planning vegetable crop rotation, group with crops from this family: N/A - Perennial (avoid following potatoes or tomatoes)
  • Companion plants:
    • Companions: Onions, lettuce, spinach, bush beans
    • Avoid: broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, cauliflowers.
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How to Grow Strawberries: Planting the Seed

Where to Find Planting Supplies...

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Strawberries can be planted by seed, but it will be two years before they can be harvested.

The easier way (and the only way for many varieties, since their seeds are extremely hard to come by) is to buy them as small disease-free plants. They can then be harvested the same year and will continue to fruit for many years to come.

If you do grow them from seed, then they can be planted into containers or in a bed after they have grown three leaves. Flowers must be picked in the first year to ensure that all nutrients are directed towards the fruits after the plant is established.

Either way, your strawberries should be planted in the spring in well-drained soil where they can get plenty of sun. If some shade creeps in for a couple of hours during the day, they’ll probably be just fine.

Snapshot: Planting Strawberries

  • Planting depth: about 14 inches ( 35 cms) for large plants, but if they are grown from seed, plant the little plants as deep as they were in the pot. So if the pot is 10 inches (250 cms) deep, plant them to this depth.

  • Spacing in rows: about 30 inches (75cm)

  • Germination soil temperature: 40 to 60 degrees F (4.44 to 15.5 degrees C)

  • Days to germination: 7 to 21 days

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How to Grow Strawberries: From Germination to Pre-Harvest

Where to Find Growing & Plant Care Supplies...

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If kept well-weeded and properly fed in well-drained moist soil throughout the growing season, your established strawberry plants will produce for up to 5 years.
Strawberries are greedy feeders and should be fed with an organic garden fertilizer about once every two weeks, but be sure to keep the fertilizer away from the leaves.

Water regularly to keep the soil moist (but not soggy), but do you best to avoid getting the fruits wet. Water in the mornings to give the morning dew a chance to evaporate before dusk.

Apply a straw mulch over the plants in late fall to protect the plants throughout the cold season. When spring returns, open up the mulch a few inches (8 cm) around the plants.

To keep berry-picking birds off of your crop, you may also need to put netting over your plants.

Snapshot: Growing Strawberries

  • Preferred soil pH (see soil pH tester for more information): 5 to 7, but optimum is 6.0 to 6.8
  • Growing soil temperature: 60 to 80 degrees F (15 to 27 degrees C)
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How to Grow Strawberries: Harvesting Time

The strawberries can be picked when they are firm but nicely red. If left for too long, they will go a deep red, become soft and their taste will start to deteriorate.

Snapshot: Harvesting Strawberries

  • Time to harvest: If grown from seed, the second year after sowing. If grown from plants usually within about 20 weeks
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Storing Strawberries and Freezing Strawberries

Storing home-grown strawberries is not usually required… it’s much more common to find that they simply disappear (we’re not blaming you), without even making it into the house!

But if you are lucky enough to grow a lot, pick them while the ends are still a little white and store them in the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to two weeks.

They are also suitable for freezing. Carefully wash them, place them on cookie sheets and freeze.

Snapshot: Storing Strawberries & Freezing Strawberries

  • Storage temperature: Store in refrigerator or eat immediately!
  • Humidity: N/A store in refrigerator
  • Storage life (unfrozen in above conditions): up to 14 days
  • Storage life (frozen): 6 months – 1 year
  • Seed longevity: About 2 to 3 years
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How to Grow Strawberries: Pests & Diseases

The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Strawberries. For more information about preventing and controlling them, see Organic Garden Pest Control.

Pests

  • Aphids
  • Birds
  • Slugs
  • Snails

Common Diseases

  • Strawberry wilt,
  • Mildew
  • Gray mould
  • Virus Diseases
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