You don’t need a green thumb to grow red, delicious strawberries on your apartment porch.
It’s easier than you think, because strawberries love a container garden environment.
Just grab these essential ingredients and you’ll be ready to start a strawberry patch at home.
The first key ingredients you need are either seeds or small strawberry plants from your local garden shop. Growing strawberries from seed takes a little longer because you have to sprout the seeds before planting them, though you do get to choose between more interesting varieties. There are fewer choices when purchasing already-growing plants, though you’ll begin to see fruit from them much faster.
There are many types of strawberries, but the main ones to look for are called June-bearers, ever-bearing or day-neutral. Like the names suggest, June-bearers produce fruit in June, ever-bearing varieties produce berries between June and August, and day-neutral plants deliver strawberries from June to October. Check out StrawberryPlants.org for recommended varieties by state.
Once you pick your plants, you’ll also need potting soil, fertilizer and the right pot.
Strawberry plants need six hours of full sun each day, so keep that in mind as you select the right outdoor space for your containers. Hanging baskets are a great option because it’s more difficult for pests to access the plants. Window boxes work well, too, or you can invest in a strawberry pot that features a large planting area on top with smaller holes on the sides – it’s perfect for growing the maximum number of plants in one place.
Mix your potting soil with your fertilizer, fill the container and dig out shallow holes for your plants or seeds. Once your plants are in the soil and covered up, don’t forget to water them!
Proper watering is key: you don’t want your plants to get too wet and rot, but you also don’t want them to dry out.
Strawberry pots dry out faster than other containers, so keep an eye on them. Also, container plants need to be watered more often than plants in the ground. Try to water your strawberry container every day. Pick the fruit as it ripens, so it will continue to produce more fruit.
As winter approaches, bring your containers indoors and keep them in a sunny spot inside until spring. Then they’ll be ready to go back outside to provide you with another strawberry-filled summer.
Your apartment balcony is a perfect spot to grow strawberries during the summer and early fall. Once you’ve become a solid strawberry gardener, it’s time to figure out how to make strawberry ice cream.
Photo credit: Shutterstock / Mircea BEZERGHEANU