Growing Strawberries In A Raised Bed

Strawberries are among the easiest fruits to grow because of their quick growth and tolerance to many temperatures. However, these small shrubs do best in areas with good drainage, little weed competition, and little risk of outgrowing their immediate surroundings. Raised beds meet all the requirements.

Strawberries may be grown in pots, containers, hanging baskets, and even as a perennial ground cover, making them surprisingly beginner-friendly crops. Raised garden beds, however, arguably provide the tastiest strawberries.

Here are our top suggestions for growing an abundance of strawberries in raised garden beds, whether you currently have one or want to start a new strawberry patch.

Why Grow Your Strawberries In A Raised Bed?

For a variety of reasons, raised beds are beneficial for many plants, including strawberries. Controlling weeds is one factor. In order to keep existing grass and weeds below the growth space until they eventually die, raised beds typically have some form of a liner. 

Raised beds are advantageous for a second reason related to the soil. Raised beds frequently have balanced, nutrient-rich soil, which is best for plant growth. Each year, it is simple to amend the soil, because rain and frequent watering wash fewer nutrients from the plants.

Raised beds are never walked in by gardeners to maintain the light, airy soil. A raised bed may quickly solve issues brought on by soil that has been trampled by people and animals. It is simpler for roots to expand, water to penetrate and drain, and beneficial insects and worms to move through fluffy soil.

A raised bed is ideal for strawberries since it will contain the spread. If the correct circumstances are there, strawberry plants will generate runners and spread like weeds. If you enjoy strawberries, it would sound like a good thing, but if you let them escape, you can end up with fewer strawberries.

It is simpler to safeguard your strawberry plants from pests and to get rid of sick or weak plants when they are enclosed. If you have your fruits safely nestled within a cozy raised bed, they will be easy to pick and won’t be trampled because they have overflowed into your walkways.

How Should My Raised Strawberry Bed Be Filled?

We will start by filling the bottom portion of your raised bed up to 12 inches below the top edge because the roots of your strawberry plants will only grow around 6 to 12 inches down. Lay down a barrier layer of newspaper and move on to the following subheading if your raised bed is only 12 inches deep or shallower.

It is necessary to first lay down a layer of newspaper, cardboard, or landscape fabric before filling a raised strawberry bed. In order to prevent weeds and grass from making their way up to the rising level of soil and affecting the health of your strawberry plants, this bottom layer will assist in eliminating any weeds and grass at the bottom of the raised bed.

Next, fill the empty raised bed with dead branches or logs. To this layer, add grass clippings, twigs, flower stems, and other such items. This layer will occupy the majority of the empty area in your raised strawberry bed without costing a fortune. All of this organic material will decompose over time and improve the soil in the raised bed.

Finally, add 12 inches of rich soil mixed with slightly acidic compost to the top of your raised strawberry bed.

How Much Soil Will Your Raised Strawberry Bed Need?

For their roots to grow, strawberry plants need a growing space of 6–12 inches. You will require 16 cubic feet of dirt for a normal 4 x 8-foot bed that is 6 inches deep.

To determine how much soil you’ll need for any size strawberry bed, use this straightforward equation.

  • 6-inch deep bed: Length x Width x .5 = cubic feet of soil needed.
  • 8-inch deep bed: Length x Width x .667 = cubic feet of soil needed.
  • 10-inch deep bed: Length x Width x .833 = cubic feet of soil needed.
  • 12-inch deep bed: Length x Width = cubic feet of soil needed.

Even if you make your raised bed taller than 12 inches, we advise you to fill any space that is deeper than that with compostable materials like dry grass or dead branches. For healthy, fruitful strawberry plants, don’t forget to add compost to your soil.

What Type Of Soil Is Ideal For A Raised Bed Strawberry Garden?

Strawberries grow best on sandy loam soil, which is full of organic matter and has good drainage. The second-best option is clay soil which has been enhanced by adding compost and manure.

Filling a raised strawberry bed with dirt in a ratio of 2:1 is the simplest method for beginners: 1 part compost to 2 parts potting soil. Your raised bed’s size will affect the precise specifications. Remember that dense, bright, nutrient-rich soil is the desired outcome.

The pH of the soil should be between 5.5 and 6.5, which is somewhat acidic. Compost is naturally acidic, and the majority of potting mixtures fall into this range. Checking your pH before you begin gardening is always a good idea. You can request a test from your neighborhood extension office or purchase inexpensive soil testing kits.

What Will Be A Suitable Location For Your Raised Bed Strawberry Garden?

When planting strawberry plants in raised beds this is the most important and first thing to consider. You must make sure that the space where your strawberry plants will grow receives at least 8 to 10 hours of direct sunlight each day. Make sure you choose a location that will allow them full sun exposure because strawberries need it to grow.

What Is The Best Time Of Year For Planting?

When to grow strawberries will depend on where you live and what time of year it is. For instance, if you reside in a warmer climate, it is essential to plant seeds in the fall. But if instead, you reside in a cooler climate, you should plant in the spring.

How Many Strawberry Plants Can You Fit In Your Raised Bed?

This answer will involve a small amount of math and planning because no two raised beds are the same. However, you can plant one strawberry every square foot in your raised bed if the strawberry variety you are cultivating produces many runners, and let the runners grow until they take root. You will have fruitful strawberry plants year after year if you do this.

On the other hand, plant 4 strawberries per square foot if you are cultivating a strawberry variety that doesn’t develop many runners. This will guarantee you as quickly as feasible a significant crop. To make place for younger plants that will produce more strawberries in the coming seasons, remove your strawberry plants as they begin to show indications of aging and slower productivity.

How Should You Plant Strawberry Plants In Your Raised Bed?

Strawberries can be planted in raised beds in the same way as in the ground.

Even if you are using pre-purchased soil, treat the ground with a slow-release fertilizer about two weeks before planting your strawberries. If you want a large, sweet crop, your strawberry plants will need all the assistance you can provide. They will flourish there for a number of years.

Trim the bare roots of strawberry crowns to a length of 4 inches before planting. As your plants mature, this will encourage stronger root growth. After that, rehydrate them by soaking them in water or composting tea for a couple of hours.

Make sure the entire crown is above the soil and all of the roots are buried when planting crowns or live plants from your neighborhood nursery. If you bury your strawberry plant too deeply, it will produce fewer berries and runners, and if you bury it too shallowly, it won’t establish its roots as well, which also messes up berry production. For the finest possible harvest, the soil level should be exactly at the base of the crown.

When you water your strawberry plants, make sure to soak the top 2 inches of soil completely.

Once your strawberry plants are all planted, add a mulch of straw or pine needles. A thin layer of mulch will slow the growth of weeds, control soil temperature, hold moisture, protect your berries from pests that live in the soil, and gradually increase the amount of organic matter in the soil.

When Should You Fertilize Your Raised Bed Strawberry Plants?

Two weeks before planting your strawberries in your raised bed, fertilize the soil there. After planting and when the plants start to blossom, fertilize them once more. During the growing season, compost tea is a fantastic fertilizer option because it is simple for the roots to quickly access an increase in nutrients without suffering from fertilizer burns.

Before the plants go dormant for the winter, avoid fertilizing your raised strawberry bed at the conclusion of the growing season. Fertilizing at that time may stress your plants and promote new growth, which will die off in the first frost. Stressed plants rarely, if ever, recover. When they first begin to wake up in the spring, hold off on fertilizing them again.

How Can You Winterize A Raised Strawberry Bed?

Raised strawberry beds are incredibly simple to winterize. Remove any weeds and any annual companion plants that have finished blooming. Apply a 3-6 inch layer of mulch once the strawberry plants have gone dormant.

For strawberry beds, straw, pine needles, or chopped leaves all work well as mulch. The use of full leaves should be avoided since they can compact during the winter and retain too much moisture in the spring, leading to illnesses and mold.

Make sure to avoid purchasing hay if you decide to utilize straw. Hay includes weed and grass seeds that are healthy for cattle but deplete the soil’s nutrients as springtime temperatures climb in your raised strawberry bed. Strawberry output will decline in the absence of nutrients.

As long as the ground is not frozen, keep watering the strawberry plants in the raised bed.

How To Protect Your Raised Strawberry Bed From Pests?

Treat a raised strawberry bed with pests similar to how you would treat a grounded garden plot. Due to its height, a raised bed helps to lessen difficulties with soil-dwelling pests, but other insects may still be a problem.

Most insect problems can be resolved with insecticidal soap, garlic or hot pepper spray, white sticky traps, or handpicking; but, if the infestation is out of control, you might need to apply neem oil or a pesticide.

In the worst case, empty the entire bed and rescue what strawberry runners you can. To eradicate any residual insect eggs and larvae, treat the area with a solution of 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 5 parts water. Neem oil could be used to treat the area instead, but be cautious because it also negatively impacts beneficial insects and could make your pest problems worse.

After replanting your strawberry runners in other pots to make sure they aren’t hiding any lingering bugs, refill the box with clean compost and soil. Use preventative steps to shield your strawberry plants from further pests, such as row coverings and companion plants.

Try adding beneficial insects to your raised strawberry bed if you detect an increase in pests early on or if you are aware that particular insects are drawn to your garden. Of course, if at all feasible, preventing an infestation is always the best course of action.

Trimming Your Strawberry Runners 

The stems that grow outward from the main plant to produce more strawberry plants are known as runners. Strawberry plants produce runners every year. The runners grow nearby and make new plants; however, they remain in the main plant and drain the nutrients.

Therefore, it’s crucial to remove runners as soon as you see them start to grow. The fundamental structure of the plant may be significantly harmed by not trimming, which would also reduce the number of berries you could pick. They might even stop the bushes entirely from producing fruit.

What Are The Benefits Of Strawberries?

Strawberries can be consumed fresh, frozen, or dried, or they can be preserved and served in jam. Fresh berries can be used for baking goods or making beverages. For granola bars, trail mix, and porridge, dry strawberries can make a lovely topping. And they can also be used as ground cover.

Final Thoughts 

You are now fully prepared to begin growing your strawberry plants in raised beds. As you can see, raising beds for strawberry cultivation is a simple process. Pick the perfect location, bed, and variety, and you’ll soon be reaping bountiful harvests of juicy, mouthwatering berries.