Organic Gardening

Can you Grow Strawberries in Raised Beds?

Raised beds can make gardening so much easier than growing in the ground. Raised beds may seem like you’d be rather limited to what you grow since there is a more limited space. So can you grow fruits like strawberries in raised beds?

Strawberries in a raised bed
Strawberries in a raised bed

My Experience Growing Strawberries

It’s been so nice being able to grow fruit in our garden. Strawberries are a great addition if you’re quickly looking for a harvest. You can start having a crop with strawberries in as little as a year or two, depending on how mature your plants are. That’s pretty quick considering after 4 years, our fig tree isn’t mature enough to really start producing fruit just yet. My father’s fig tree took 5 years to start seeing a crop that was edible and has been producing fruit ever since!

For growing tips for strawberries check out the following blog posts:

Before I started growing strawberries, I opted for bare roots as a way to get going. This turned out to be the best option for us. There were a total of 75 bare roots that I was able to get from Johnny Seeds . The Strawberry Collection comes with 3 different varieties at altering times of flowering and fruiting and each variety comes with a bundle of 25 bare roots.

The plants are divided up between 2 raised beds and an in-ground bed. I very briefly mentioned growing in raised beds in my Part 2 post, but did not elaborate on it any further. You may also want to catch up on the pros and cons of growing in raised beds to see what the advantages and disadvantages of doing such.

Why Growing Strawberries in Raised Beds is the Best Idea

So can you grow strawberries in raised beds?

Yes, you absolutely can!

I’m sure there are lots of points that can be made about growing strawberries in either pots or in-ground, but for us, growing in raised beds has been the best option. Raised beds provide an ample amount of space in comparison to pots and offer a much better harvest than in-ground gardening.

In our in-ground garden, we have to struggle with the constant intrusion of weeds around our strawberry plants. It’s almost like the weeds are attracted to them! In contrast, in the raised beds, there are barely any weeds. When there are less weeds, there is less competition for the plants. We’re also able to manage our soil much better in our raised beds. We have a lot of clay in our soil on our property and we’ve been trying to amend it for the past three years. Although it has improved a lot since we moved here, there’s still more work to be done.

Growing in raised beds makes it easier to control rodents and pests. We’ll actually be adding a wooden frame top to our raised beds with hardwire cloth to keep out our biggest challenge this year which was chipmunks. We’re either going to make hinges on the top for easy access or make it light enough for it to easily be moved on and off the beds.

Comparing our raised beds and the in-ground garden, the harvest in the raised beds was significantly better. This year we were able to harvest 10 pounds of strawberries with most of them coming from our raised beds. Since we’ve had so much success in the raised beds, we’ll be transplanting our strawberries planted in-ground into the raised beds. It’ll also make it easier for them to be in on location instead of spread out in our backyard between two separate garden areas.

Strawberry Flowers
Strawberry Flowers

Planting Your Strawberries in Raised Beds

When you order your bareroots (if that’s the route you choose to go), the company will ship them when it’s time for your area to put them in the ground. For example, Johnny Seeds ships their strawberry bareroots from March to May, and I believe ours came in April or May two years ago. 

Our first year we had a small harvest. As strawberry plants get older, they’ll produce more fruit. Our second year was amazing with the sweetest strawberries. I highly recommend getting the bareroots from Johnny Seeds, if you’re considering growing strawberries.

How to Plant the Bareroots

When it was time to plant the bareroots, my mom helped me with planting. We created little pockets along the edge that were deep enough to cover the roots. However, when I transplant the in-ground strawberries, they’ll be staggered in rows throughout the raised bed.

How I Prepped the Raised Beds

I always like to know exactly how other gardeners prep their soil, so I’m sharing with you exactly how I prepped the beds.

In preparation for planting in our raised beds, I used Coast of Maine Organic & Natural Compost Blend with Lobster & Crab in the fall, and mixed it into the soil. Next I covered the compost with straw to reduce compaction. In the spring, Black Kow manure was added and mixed into the soil. The straw was mixed in to further breakdown in the soil. A fresh layer of straw was put down on top to prevent compaction and retain moisture.

Protecting Your Strawberries from Birds and Other Pests

The most challenging part of having strawberries for us has been trying to protect the fruit from birds and chipmunks. We had at least 3 very determined chipmunks this year that got to a good amount of our fruit. We put up netting to try to keep them out, but they are so small, they got through the holes or were easily able to slip under the netting. Be sure to fortify your garden against birds and pests because they can really cause a lot of damage to your crop. Once we’ve built our cover with the hardwire cloth, I’ll be sure to share how we did it!

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