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How to Plant & Grow Bare Root Strawberries

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How to Plant & Grow Bare Root Strawberries

We bet you’ll agree with us that there are few things that taste better than homegrown fruits and veggies like tomatoes, squash, and strawberries! But unlike tomatoes and squash, some gardeners seem a little intimidated by growing bare root strawberries, and we’re here to kick those insecurities to the curb. Trust us; it’s easy — and we’re going to prove it.

When Your Shipment Arrives

We have some new everbearing bare root strawberries this season that we are very excited about! Strawberry Ozark Beauty features large bright red berries with a lusciously sweet flavor, producing fruit from late spring til frost. Strawberry White Carolina, on the other hand, produces pale pink berries with red seeds and a surprising pineapple flavor from late spring into the early fall. And if you can’t choose, then try our Strawberry Festival Collection, which features a few of each! Can’t go wrong there. 

Now, when you receive your shipment, you’ll want to do the following pretty quickly:

  1. Separate the bare root bundles.
  2. Remove any dried leaves that are attached.
  3. Soak the roots in water for about an hour before planting.

How to Plant

  • Choose a sunny site in your garden. The more sun, the better!

  • Dig a hole. If the roots are super long, you can gently trim them to about 4-5”, and then dig a hole that will accommodate the roots and mound the soil at the bottom of the hole.

  • Plant the crown even with the soil line. This is arguably the most important step — you want to avoid planting either too deeply or too shallowly. Spread the roots out around the mound, holding the crown upright.

  • Replace soil around the roots, tamp down gently and water. 

  • Now here’s where planting directions take a detour depending upon where you live: 

  • Matted Rows: This is a popular planting method in the northern and eastern states, and with those gardeners planting June-bearing strawberries. Space the plants 1.5-2’ apart in rows with 3-4’ in between rows. The “mother” plant sends out runners in all directions, thereby forming a mat. If you’re using everbearing strawberries, just use the closest recommended spacing that comes with your plant, as everbearing varieties don’t have as many runners as their June-bearing friends.
  • Hill Rows: Live in a warmer climate where strawberries might continue to grow into the later months of the year? Plant your strawberries in hills 1’ apart, with 3’ in between rows. With this method, strawberry plants don’t have many runners and all fruit is harvested from the “mother” plant, in effect growing the plants as annuals.
  • Solid Beds: Got a small space for your strawberries and don’t really need additional space to walk between rows? Plant strawberries 10” - 14” apart in rows that are about 1.5’ - 2’ apart, and the mother plants will make a solid bed with their runners.

  • Steps to Growing Bare Root Strawberries

    Now, we know you love fresh, juicy, ripe strawberries as much as the next guy (possibly even more), but you may need to hold off just a bit before enjoying your first harvest. During that first growing season, your bare root strawberries (particularly the everbearing types) need to save their strength for a great harvest next season. 

    That means that if you can put off gratification during that first growing season by pinching off the flowers and runners, you’ll be setting your strawberry plants up for a strong harvest in the coming and following seasons. Now hold on to your seat, because growing the best strawberries with the most flavor includes a little death and destruction, planting new strawberry beds every 2-3 years:

  • June-bearing strawberries: Pinch off most of the blooms in the first season. Plant in the spring and harvest in the following June. Mow to 3” - 4” in height in August and fertilize. In the third spring, start a new bed, harvesting fruit in June in the original bed and destroying the plants after their second harvest.

  • Everbearing strawberries: Pinch off all blooms early in the season, then let blooms later in the season develop. Harvest in mid to late summer of the first year, and start a new bed the following spring. Continue harvesting all summer in the original bed, then destroy plants. The best strawberries are from plants that are allowed to grow for two seasons — but it’s okay, you’ve got the other bed now!

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    • Katie Elzer-Peters