Strawberries in Square Foot Gardens

sarahroseJanuary 5, 2006

Hi, I am new to Square Foot Gardening. Am planning my 1st one this spring. Cannot find any info on doing strawberries the SF way.

How do you grow strawberries in you square foot gardens?

Thank you.

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immrlizard(z7)

Great Idea, I have mine in a 4 ft X 4ft

http://www.geocities.com/immrlizard/str1early.jpg

This is the first year I did mine. The 2 larger ones were ones that were in a pot the year before. Hope that you get some ideas from that

    Bookmark   January 8, 2006 at 7:04PM
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magnolias4ever(8b)

My mother-in-law has 2 - 4x8 beds. The very first spring she planted strawberries in one of the beds and her vegetables in the other. Needless to say, the strawberries totally took over the 4x8 bed that she planted them in LOL. Be careful -- they will grow like fire. Actually, I think you're really supposed to dig them up every year and re-plant them and thin them out.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 9:26PM
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fuzzy(6b northern AR)

I know this is an old post, but thought this page might help others searching for info:

Here is a link that might be useful: Mel's strawberries

    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 1:26PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

The corrrect way is to put 4 strawberry plants in each square. Then, you have to make sure that you keep the "runners" trimmed. That way, you will keep all the energy of the plant in the main stem creating larger(and usually juicer-believe it or not!)strawberries. You get a killer crop doing it this way. I have one 4X4 vinyl box dedicated to nothing buy strawberries. You can't buy better strawberries than we grow. Send me your email address and you can take a look at mine if you would like.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 2:22AM
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preciousamy

snibb,
Do you snip off every runner? And will the strawberry plants come back the next year if you eliminate the daughter plants? Sorry, I'm new to gardening, so I'm full of questions! *wink* I would love to see your strawberry box, please post your pictures or email me at no1precious@msn.com. Thanks so much!!! :)
P.S. I just bought some bareroot fruits, when should I plant them? Also, should I expect fruit from them this season?
Happy Gardening!
Keep Smiling, Amy :)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 1:57PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

Yes, you will want to snip off every runner. Your plants will come back every year-this is my 7th year? of strawberries. Plant them anytime..you should get some strawberries this year...and then next year, look out! I think the whole concept is to keep the energy in the main stem. You could, if you want, let the things go crazy, and you would have nothing but strawberries in one box. But, they would be small. Anyway, I will attempt to email it to you. It is on the SFG website though. Just go to squarefootgardening.com, then hit "Mels Column" on the left hand side. You will then see on the 3rd column over "Neighborly Competition." You can read the article if you would like-its kind of funny. But, you can see the box of strawberries protected with green netting so birds cant get to it. This garden picture was about 5 or 6 years ago, so, its a bit more full now. But, if you look hard enough, you can see a lot of mistakes I made when I first got started. Still, its a great garden for us here.....

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 12:47AM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

Amy..."you've got mail!"....

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 1:37AM
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alan8(8)

snibb, are your strawberries ever bearers or june bearers? 7 years? Wow.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 8:29PM
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disneynut1977(5b, Sunset zone 42)

I'm doing 2 4x4 strawberry beds this year too. I have everbearing types. Temptation and Alexandria. Both are suppossed to be ok in semi/sun-full sun. They are gonna be in 6-7 hrs full sun. I'll see how they do.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 9:44PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

Mine are everbearing....

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 10:20PM
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grassman84(MA)

Next spring will be my first time planting strawberries in a SFG and I came across this post while researching the spacing. It seems like 4 plants per square is what is called for (the link above show's Mel's patch quite clearly), but I just wanted to be sure I am looking at this correctly. I will be buying 25 plants each of an early, mid and late season variety (for 75 plants total). They are shipped as dormant, bare root plants. Never having seen them in this state, will 4 of these fit comfortably into one square? Or is the 4/sf a guide when planting from seed? I am expecting to plant 72 of these into a 3' by 6' bed. Am I on target?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 4:00PM
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mike_in_paradise(6U 5A Cn Jun9Sep29)

Interesting....

Right now I have hundreds and hundreds (Maybe a thousand) of runners coming off my strawberry patch rooting all over the place. I took 50 of them yesterday and that did not even make a dent in them.

I put in a box yesterday but I did not plant that many plants.

this box is 4 x 8 = 32 sq ft x 4 = 128 plants. I put in about 50 plants.

Now I will have to rethink this.

I have this other area that I have slowly been reclaiming from the swamp but it is still pretty wet.

I have some wood for boxes that I got from a neighbour and I have been debating on trying to get some boxes in here and filling them with berries but that will be lots of work and not sure if I can get it done.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 5:43PM
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mike_in_paradise(6U 5A Cn Jun9Sep29)

Grassman..

If you look at my patch I started with 125 plants 2 years ago. There are 5 rows of 25 feet long so I planted one per foot. I would guess that last year there were at least 3 runners for every plant which would bring plants to 500 or so. We got 50 lbs (42 litres) of berries this year and that was after loosing part of the patch to a flood last year.

This year it seems like there are 5 runners for every plant.It has just gone wild.

I would love to see your box in a couple of years.

Now we live in a climate where we do not have to replant the berries every few years like many places do.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 5:53PM
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medontdo(8)

my question is, if you take them runners off like snibbs was saying, can you replant them?? i know. its a dumb question. but i don't want to take any off unless i know for sure!! LOL ~Medo :') p.s. talla gets to ours first!! she's 6 now. :')

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 12:11AM
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mike_in_paradise(6U 5A Cn Jun9Sep29)

I wait until the runners have roots well established and then pull them up and put them where I want them.

That was how I rebuilt the strawberry patch after the flood last year destroyed part of it.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 5:40AM
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grassman84(MA)

So it seems to me that it would be 4 plants/sf when strictly following Mel's guidelines. This would also mean that all runners are cut off and you don't allow them to spread. The theory here is that the energy is focused on the main plant and the berries should be superior.

But it would also seem that you could start with much fewer plants and let them spread to fill the box, which sounds like it wouldn't take long. In theory the berry quality wouldn't be as good?????

Mike - your box with 50 plants seems pretty well full up, even though the theory says you could/should have 128 plants. So I wonder if my 3 by 6 box with 72 plants will be too crowded? In the patch where you let the runners take off, have you noticed any decrease in the quality of the berry?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 9:52AM
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anniesgranny(6b)

I haven't had a lot of experience with strawberries, but in my case I found it best to plant two per square foot (diamond pattern) and keep the runners cut off for the first two years. The third year I would pin down one runner from each plant and let it take root. By fall, that plant was well established and I would remove the mother plant. That kept the bed full of younger vigorous plants. Mine was a small bed, this method would probably be difficult in a large one.

If I wanted to start new plants with the runners, I would set small plastic pots of soil next to the mother plant and pin the runner down to the soil in the pot. As soon as it took root, I would cut it away and have a healthy new plant for another garden bed.

Granny

Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Kitchen Garden

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 11:47AM
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medontdo(8)

thank you so much!! i was wondering and i so much hate wasting a good plant!! LOL

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 2:19PM
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mike_in_paradise(6U 5A Cn Jun9Sep29)

Quote: In the patch where you let the runners take off, have you noticed any decrease in the quality of the berry?

I wont really notice this until next year as the second year there was still lots of room. If I don't thin it out this year, next year I will know this...

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 9:50AM
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crystabel(9)

Annie - so do the strawberry plants just stay in that box for good? I wasn't sure if you are supposed to pull them up when done or just keep them where they are...

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 10:30AM
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anniesgranny(6b)

Quote: Annie - so do the strawberry plants just stay in that box for good? I wasn't sure if you are supposed to pull them up when done or just keep them where they are...

The original (mother) plants stay in the box for three years, or as long as they are producing a good crop. The first two years I cut off all runners. If I want more plants at this time, I root the runners in small pots, cut them loose from the mother plant and put them in a different bed. I wouldn't allow more than one runner to form from each mother plant. If you want young plants in the same bed, you just train a runner where you want it to go (it helps to hold it in place with a handful of dirt, a small rock, a hairpin, etc.). It will take root right under the leaves, and as soon as it has rooted (you can tell it is when you can't freely move it anymore) just snip it free from the mother. It then begins to put out runners of its own. Each runner weakens its mother plant, as she uses most of her energy putting out those "babies" rather than producing fruit. You can just let them run wild and root wherever (matted rows) and you will get berries, but they will be much smaller.

You also need to decide what type of strawberry you want to plant. There are the "June bearing", which give you one large crop of berries all at once. Then you have the "everbearing", which is a bit of a misnomer, as they actually give two crops a year. My favorite are the "day neutral" which truly are everbearing, giving several crops throughout the season. For greatest yield, the June bearing are probably the best....if you want all the fruit at once for freezing, jams, etc.

Granny

Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Kitchen Garden

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 10:53AM
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grassman84(MA)

Granny thanks for the advice. I've been having a hard time getting comfortable with 4 plants per square. It just seems like it would be too crowded. I think 2/sq might work and I like the idea of cutting the runners until the plant stops producing.

How big do the plants get? Maybe that depends on the variety but I think that would help give me an idea if 4/sq is too crowded. I just picture one big mess.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 11:16AM
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anniesgranny(6b)

grassman84, I'm trying to remember just how large each plant got, it's been a few years since I grew them! My husband is giving me some odd looks as I sit here in front of the computer making circles with my fingers *g*!

I'm going to say mine got a good 8" across, if not larger. If you keep the runners cut off, have them in good soil and keep them properly fertilized I think they might get larger than that. I'm definitely going to put mine in at 2 per square. If I find that leaves too much space, it won't take long at all to fill it in with a few runners.

Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Kitchen Garden

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 11:41AM
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grassman84(MA)

OK, back to the strawberries. One other thing I have thought of is what to do with the blooms? I have decided to plant 2 per square and keep all runners trimmed off. Now the blooms. General planting instructions seem to indicate that all blooms should be picked off the first year so the plant does not fruit and the energy will be directed to the roots. I believe the rational is that it will create stronger runners to bear healthier fruit in the second year. If I am planning to trim all the runners, though, could I allow the plant to fruit that first year without a drop off in quality? Or should I still snip all blooms the first year?

Who would have thought that one plant could occupy so much of my time?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 9:49AM
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holly-2006

I let mine fruit the first year. Didn't get much mind you, the this (the second) year they went crazy. They've been putting out runners that I'm snipping off and putting into grow bags for next years planting. I understand production really falls off in the third year with the original plants.

I planted mine 6" on center (4 plants). Already froze 2 gallon zip lock bags full. Not too many fans of strawberries around here.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 10:19AM
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anniesgranny(6b)

I'm not picking off any blooms! I'd rather have those first berries, and if I sacrifice size for the joy of that first picking.....so be it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Granny's Blog

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 1:13PM
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medontdo(8)

mine didn't bloom the first year, i got them in late, and i tell you, they had so many fruit that it was unbelievable!! LOL ~Medo

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 12:40AM
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mike_in_paradise(6U 5A Cn Jun9Sep29)

I put in 5 rows of strawberries. I picked the flowers on 2 rows and left 3 rows as is.

I noticed absolutely no difference in the results of the rows of picking versus not.

I put in another 72 plants in another box 3 x 8. Next 2 years will be interesting as I started my patch with 125 plants and now have that many in a 4x8 and a 3 x 12 sq ft box.

I really need to spend 1/2 day in the old patch cleaning it out.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 6:41AM
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anniesgranny(6b)

Mike-in-the-paradise-where-Granny wants-to-be said: "I put in 5 rows of strawberries. I picked the flowers on 2 rows and left 3 rows as is. I noticed absolutely no difference in the results of the rows of picking versus not"

I'm sure glad to hear this! More of us need to experiment like this and share our results (spacing, allowing runners to form or not, etc.) Thank you, Mike

Granny

Here is a link that might be useful: Granny's Blog

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 11:16AM
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mike_in_paradise(6U 5A Cn Jun9Sep29)

Granny: I am one of those people who likes to make his own mistakes when it comes to seeing what works and what doesn't.

Off topic to this thread but I did a bunch of different corn experiments.

The best is definitely corn covered in clear plastic in a raised box, with beans planted in between them (till the wind blows it down!), followed by my corn in the ground in dark plastic using a treated seed.

I tried a couple of different varieties with treated and untreated. I had also ignored this section but my better half weeded it a few days before this picture.

You can see big sections where the corn did not make it all!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 11:52AM
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mike_in_paradise(6U 5A Cn Jun9Sep29)

Today we cleaned out the rows in the strawberry patch.

We took out another 150 plants and put in these two 3 ft wide rows using 8 inch spacing.

I am using more the sq ft type methods for spacing going wide and dense as the original planting was single rows spaced 12 inches as shown here.

This was June of 2007.

I may be pushing fate as this was the area that flooded last year but I am going to put a break wall of 12 inches in front of them as the water naturally turned here and headed to the pond in the flood.

Originally I screened all the soil for the mounds but after the flood these are just quick and dirty rows in case I lose them :) Just tilled in some peat moss. In the spring I will put on some composite.

That is over 300 plants that I pulled out of about 1 aisle between the original rows. The other rows I just whipper snipped up them and then ran the till and raked out the berries.

We pulled out tons of runners but still needs another afternoons work.

It will be interesting to compare these to the other plants that I have in raised boxes in another garden.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 6:33PM
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grassman84(MA)

Its always helpful getting real world input. I've decided to go with two 4x4 beds and fill each with 25 plants (Earliglow in one and either Sparkle or Jewel in the other). That will be a little less than two per square but it seems like these beds will fill up fast. I'll experiment and see what works. Some I'll pinch the buds, some will be allowed to runner, some I'll keep trimmed. Now if only it were spring!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 1:25PM
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mike_in_paradise(6U 5A Cn Jun9Sep29)

Grassman: You should be fine with this and if like me will be looking for spots to plant the babies!

In the 4x8 box there are 50 plants and in the 3 x 12 plants there are about 75 plants.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 6:16AM
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urbanegardener(7)

I realize this thread has been dead for almost a full year, but I'm going to go ahead and revive it anyway! I have strawberries planted in a 4'x4' raised bed in my postage stamp back yard in the city, directly against a brick wall that faces south. I started with only 5 plants in May (not realizing there was a method to this), and they've reproduced spectacularly. Problem is, I wasn't aware that I was supposed to keep them in check, so now I'm afraid that I may have too many, or that I've weakened the daughter plants by letting them produce runners themselves. Should I thin them while there are still about 4-6 weeks (I live in New England) of summer left? Or should I just accept a crop of small berries next year, and thin them when I renovate the bed in June? I can post a picture, if anyone wants/needs to see. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 12:05AM
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hotchaiguy

I am thinking to plant strawberries this Spring of 2011 and have wondered about where to grow mine. I have heard of not planting where tomatoes, Potatoes, or egg plant have been planted recently. An one heard of that? And what of companion planting?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 8:03PM
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