Growing Strawberries for Beginners: Top Tips for a Great Harvest

Growing Strawberries for Beginners: Top Tips for a Great Harvest

As Spring approaches, “Growing Strawberries for Beginners: Top Tips for a Great Harvest” will help you to have your best strawberry crop ever!

Strawberries are such wonderful perennials to grow on your homestead!  

Each strawberry plant is capable of producing a quart of fruit!  With just 10 or so plants, you can grow enough strawberries to make jams, and jellies and even freeze for the future.

strawberry plant

How to Grow Strawberries

Growing Strawberries: What Conditions do Strawberry Plants Need?

Strawberries can grow from zones 2-10, with at least 6-10 hours of full sun and good drainage.  They need loamy soil with a pH of 5.5-7.0.

Growing strawberries organically can be achieved by the use of companion plants!  After adding chive plants all through my strawberry patch, I rarely see any insects other than the pollinators! 

Strawberries at the store are typically sprayed with pesticides and usually aren’t local.  Personally, I don’t want to eat sprayed berries and I don’t want my family to eat them either.  It only makes sense to grow your own, organically, at home!

Easy Strawberry Preserves Recipe

berry plant

Types of Strawberries

  • June-bearing – These plants produce a full crop, in June, the season after planting.  
  • Everbearing – These plants will produce 2 smaller crops, one in the Spring and another in the Fall.  Everbearing strawberries will yield a harvest the season they are planted.
  • Day-neutral – These plants bear fruit throughout the summer.

Which one should you plant?

It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

If you like to make jam and freeze berries for later, you’re going to want June-bearing strawberries.  June-bearing strawberries give you a larger crop in a shorter amount of time.

If you just want to munch on your strawberries and enjoy them with a dessert occasionally, then Everbearing or Day-neutral might be better suited for you.

How to Grow Strawberries in a Container

Growing Lettuce in the Home Garden

chive plants

Tip #1 for Growing Strawberries – Add Companion Plants

Giving your strawberries the nutrients they need will help them to produce more fruit for you.  This can be accomplished by companion planting.

What are the companion plants for strawberries?

  • Rhubarb
  • Horseradish
  • Marigolds
  • Chives
  • Onions
  • Spinach 
  • Sage

I prefer to use chives as a companion plant for my strawberries.  Chives help me to grow my strawberries organically in two ways.

First, chives repel unwanted pests.  I rarely see any bugs in my strawberry patch other than pollinators.

Second, by using the “Chop and Drop” method of fertilizing, chives bring potassium and calcium to my patch, which is exactly what strawberries LOVE!  This is how to grow more strawberries with chives!

“Chop and Drop” is easy enough to do, simply grab the chives plant like you would a ponytail, and just clip 3-4 inch cuttings and let them drop on the ground.

Well-nourished plants produce more!

chop and drop manure


How to Plant Strawberry Plants Correctly

how to plant strawberry correctly

While strawberries are very hardy, they can begin to struggle if they aren’t planted correctly in the first place.

To plant strawberries correctly, dig your hole at least as large as the width and length of the root.  Don’t cram the roots into a hole that’s too small.

As you replace the soil around the plant, make sure that the soil level doesn’t exceed the plant’s crown (see diagram).


Tip #2 – Growing the Best Strawberries with the Right Fertilizer

Given that strawberries like just slightly acidic soil (5.5-7.0), be sure to fertilize well with well-rotted compost or manure prior to blossoms blooming.  Strawberries benefit from high-nitrogen compost made with chicken manure if you have it available.

Also, mulching heavily with straw helps to keep the soil moist and prevent weeds.

Another way to fertilize my strawberries is to use the “chop and drop” method with chives, as described above.


woman clipping strawberry runner

Tip #3 – Make Your Strawberry Plants Produce More Fruit by Replanting Runners

Take advantage of runners!

Runners are simply the strawberry plant’s offspring, or babies.  If you don’t trim them from the mother plant once they have rooted, it’s put a lot of additional stress on that mother plant. (There’s a life lesson in there somewhere!)  So once the runners have little root systems, it’s time to grow on their own and absorb their own nutrients!

These runners oftentimes take root somewhere all by themselves. 

However, I like to create rows in my strawberry patch.  This runner hasn’t taken root yet, so I will just give it a snip to separate it from the mother plant and place it where I would like it to be.  But even if it has rooted, just gently pluck it out and relocate it.


How to Plant Asparagus


Cover the roots, but don’t bury the plant too deep, just up to the crown.  Water, but don’t soak.

It didn’t take long to create a couple of new rows of strawberry plants in my garden!  All for free!!


How to Freeze Strawberries the RIGHT Way


If you don’t want to expand your garden, be sure to offer your runners to someone else who might just love to get a strawberry patch going!


Strawberries are indeed one of the easiest plants to grow and when they are well maintained, this perennial will keep giving year after year!  


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This Post Has 12 Comments


    Great information. I interplanted strawberries between the perennial flowers and bulbs around my house. Sort of like a fruit bearing ground cover. Unfortunately, visitors and delivery men spotted them. Often I would answer the door to find them happily munching away on the irresistible fruit.

    1. Kelly

      Susan, What a wonderful idea to inter-plant! That’s ridiculous about people munching on them, geez!

  2. Laura

    I have had such strawberry disasters. Maybe I’ll try one more time this year. Thanks for joining my Pinterest Group Homestead Gathering Place. I’m hoping to build a friendly little place to talk homesteading.

    1. Kelly

      Laura, thanks for inviting me!

  3. Bonnie

    This was great advice I had 2 strawberry pots and planted but didn’t do very good maybe the soil wasn’t very good, it I am going to try again this year with better soil.
    Not in the planters just in my raised bed . Thks

    1. Kelly

      Hi Bonnie!

      I’m glad you’re going to give strawberries in containers another try. Consider the amount of sun and water they were getting, they need full sun and will do best with “raised bed” soil. Good luck!

  4. nina

    i planted a raised be with june bearing strawberry plants from gurney. the soil is garden dirt, compost and peatmoss, the plants are hugh, a nice green with big leaves but they don’t bloom and if they do bloom, they produce tiny little berries I have fertilized with 10-10-10 the Ph is 6.2 the bed is 4 years old the only year we got any berries was the first year. What an i doing wring?

    1. Kelly

      Hi Nina,

      I’m sorry that your strawberry patch has been less than productive! I have a few thoughts. First of all, I would order my plants from Stark brothers. I am not an affiliate but I do order all of my fruit trees and plants from them. Amazing quality and guaranteed. Stark also sells a strawberry fertilizer that is 10-52-17, I would order that as well, it should bring the fruit that you’re lacking now.

      Your plants should produce the most in the first three years and then become somewhat unproductive after that. I just mowed down my second strawberry patch that didn’t bear much this year, it’s also 4 years old. I will turn the ground under and plant new strawberry starters in the spring.

      Of course, include your companion plants, like chives or even asparagus! I hope this helps, thanks for your question!

      I hope this helps!

  5. Echo he kemp

    When’s the best time to repot or transplant my strawberries. I live in illinois.

    1. Kelly

      Hi there! That’s a great question! Spring and fall are the best times to transplant strawberries, be sure to fertilize well with well-rotted compost!

  6. peggy

    for me what worked was to plant two different kinds of strawberries close by…they did so much better, have no reason or rhyme to why..just sharing…

    1. Kelly

      Thanks, Peggy for sharing your experience with us! Great job!

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