Planting Strawberries

Two hands planting a strawberry plant.

Strawberries are one of the most popular fruits for sweet reason, and they’re wildly better tasting when you grow your own.

Planting in full sun is best, but strawberries can take a few hours of shade during the day. They prefer a sheltered spot, out of strong winds. Don’t plant where you’ve recently grown tomatoes or potatoes. And strawberries aren’t too picky about their soil, as long as it’s well drained. But a slightly acidic soil is best, about 6 to 6.5 pH.

You’ll want to protect your strawberries from their favorite fans – birds! Squirrels love strawberries, too. So plan to use netting after you plant to keep unwanted foragers away.

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Upon Arrival

Tomorrow's Harvest Berry Delivery Container on Doorstep

Goodness You Can Grow™ Has Arrived!

Congratulations on your purchase of a plant from Tomorrow’s Harvest® by Burchell Nursery!

We have made every effort to pack and ship your plant so that it arrives in pristine condition. If for any reason, you are not completely satisfied with the plant you received from Tomorrow’s Harvest, please let us know immediately.

  • After unpacking, give the plant a light watering to settle any soil loosened during shipping.
  • Place the plant in the area where it will remain and let sit for several days before transplanting. This gives it a chance to acclimatize to its new surroundings. If the plant will remain indoors, avoid placing it in the direct path of any heating or cooling vents.
  • If the plant will eventually end up in a new container, be sure to keep the root ball intact and use nothing but high quality potting soil. Place the plant in the new container, or the ground, so that the top of the root ball ends up at the same height as the new soil level.
  • Some leaves may have fallen off in transit, but don’t worry because the wood of the plant is still green. It will grow new leaves soon. Be sure to not over water if this is the case. An application of a water-soluble fertilizer within the first couple of weeks will help encourage new leaf growth.
  • Most important, only water the plant when the root ball appears slightly dry to the touch when felt with your finger. When you do water, soak well. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.

Check out this site for more extensive planting and care instructions or call 800 828-8733 Monday – Friday 7am – 4pm PT, where you’ll find a friendly member of the Tomorrow’s Harvest team ready to answer your questions. We value your business and are always available to help.

Put them directly in the good earth

Prepare the soil well in advance by eliminating weeds and digging in plenty of compost.

  • Add in some general, blended fertilizer forked through the soil.
  • Create a small mound in the bottom of holes spaced about 18 inches apart. Trim off any long, straggly roots, and then carefully spread the roots out over the mound in the hole.
  • Keep the crown of the plant at the same height as the surface of the soil, and then fill in around the plant. Firm the soil gently with your hands.
  • Water thoroughly and regularly.
  • Add a generous layer of mulch around each plant. Barley straw is best, and wheat straw works, too. Just avoid oat straw, which can have nematodes (tiny bugs that can love to eat your strawberry plants).
  • Feed your plants in late spring by sprinkling a little blended fertilizer around them, being careful not to let it get on the leaves.

Cradle them under a plastic blanket

Planting your strawberries through slits cut in plastic stretched over a raised bed is a good approach.

Strawberries planted under plastic

The plastic works as a mulch, suppressing weeds and helping to keep the ground warm. It also helps retain moisture and shields your sweet berries from getting mud-splashed.

  • Start with a bed about 3 feet wide and prepare the soil as described above.
  • Mound the bed slightly down the middle. This will help excess water drain away.
  • Install a soaker hose to lie under the plastic, if you like. Or skip this step if you prefer to water each plant with a watering can or hose.
  • Cover the dirt with a length of plastic that’s just a bit wider than the bed, about 4 feet.
  • Clear plastic provides a greenhouse effect, warming the soil the most, but black plastic is better at inhibiting weeds.
  • Anchor the plastic by burying the edges firmly into the soil along the edges of the bed.
  • Cut X-shaped slits in the middle of the plastic, about 18 inches apart.
  • Plant your strawberries in the slits and firm the soil gently with your hands.
  • Water your newly planted gems. If watering by hand, fold back the edges of the slits to give the plants a good first drink.
  • Feed your plants in late spring by sprinkling a little blended fertilizer around them, being careful not to let it get on the leaves.

Enjoy the flexibility of containers

Strawberries do well in containers of most any type as long as they offer good drainage.

Strawberries grown in a hanging pot

Special terra cotta or plastic strawberry pots have pockets for individual plants, but you have many other options ranging from decorative pots and hanging baskets to tower pots and growing bags. All give you the flexibility to move them to take advantage of sun and protect them from cold. And they can be raised off the ground to protect your sweet berries from slugs.

  • Use a good potting soil to ensure a slightly acidic soil. Between 6 and 6.5 pH is ideal.
  • Water little but often so the plants always remain moist. You don’t want them to become waterlogged or dry out.
  • Once they start to flower, fertilize weekly with a liquid fertilizer that’s high-potash and low-nitrate (such as what you might use for tomatoes).