Growing Strawberries in Window Boxes

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Growing strawberries in window boxes… That’s what I’ve been up to lately.

So we got 20 strawberry plants from an independent seller. , From Facebook marketplace. They’re beautiful! And healthy looking. Yes, you can defientley start from seeds. You could order the seeds online or scrape othem off of one you’ve already got and save them. If you get some of the skin with it, no biggie, I have heard of people cutting the berry in half and just starting from there.

But having actual young plants would give us an advantage and step up. For the first few weeks before planting we “hardened them off” for a few hours a day in full sunlight and then brought them back in.

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growing strawberries


I kept them outside during the say, at night unless it got down to say, 38 degrees, I left them out. Bringing 20 plants in and out can be tedious (I put 5 in a box to make it easier.

Strawberries have so many container options, you may have seen those planters with the open spaces on all sides,, even laundry baskets have been fashioned. Anything you can find that has open gaps in it. So why window boxes? Well for one they are great for all of you balcony gardeners out there. And they don’t have to all go in to the outside of windows, too, that is mostly a suggestion.

Ours are arranged so there isn’t room for them, but that can be altered to make it work. Window boxes are versatile enough that you can arrange them in small spaces anywhere they have a nice aesthetic, such as around a patio, or even flanking the outside of your garden beds.

Me and the hubs bought a whole mess of these boxes at a yard sale last yer and we’ve found so many uses for them…they haven’t worked well for seed starting as I could not find anything for them to drip runoff water into beneath. So they are best used outside.


With so many varieties of strawberries available, remember there are three major categories they all belong to:

June-bearing – As the name indicates, they do all of their yield producing for the first few weeks in early summer. Kind of like determinate tomatoes do….This would be ideal for you if you’re hoping for a batch you can preserve later on, (homemade jam perhaps?) Because they produce a lot of runners, they probably aren’t a good choice for hanging planters.

Ever-bearing: These produce two major yields, possibly spring and late summer and fall. They don’t produce as may runners so would be a good choice for small spaces, including window boxes.

Day neutral: These produce a good yield for the first year.(they are perrenials) and can keep going into fall. They flourish in mild temperature ranges Only downside is that they may produce smaller fruits on average. Still, great news for small space gardeners!

Strawberries thrive in zones 2-10 but if you need additional guidance on picking a good variety for where you live, I would check with your local state university extension, you may find some suggestions for varieties that thrive in your area the best.


Now on with the nitty gritty here….

Strawberries are classified as a “cover crop”….they have shallow roots which makes them excellent for containers. They still do well in raised beds, but we decided against planting them in our beds since we added lime to our beds this year and strawberries thrive in highly acidic soil (under a ph of 7) which doesn’t bode well. They also prefer loamy soil, which is the “happy medium” that all gardeners dream of.

Make sure you use well drained potting soil with a lot of organic nutrients. We added aged chicken manure to our mix, which we know is going to pay off big time. Starwberries do great with high nitrogen levels and what has more of it than aged manure? We filled all our boxes with our mix.

You may notice strawberry plants have a unique anatomy to them. See the stiff looking place at the base of the stems? That is called the “crown”. When you plant them, make sure the crown is exposed and only the roots are submerged into the soil. This is a common mistake….I probably did this once not knowing better.

The other thing that’s distinctive is that strawberry plants produce a lot of “runners” What are those exactly? Well, they are the offspring of the main plant. If allowed to grow and develop their own root systems, they will continue to grow, but this puts additional stress on the mother plant, so it is wise to clip the runners from it and replant them in a different spot.

Example of what a “runner” looks like.

If you have any runners that have already taken root, it is okay to snip them and carefully replant in another side of the box. There are people who advise clipping some of the white blossoms that emerge so the yield will be greater, I’m not sure how much of that you want to do, they are pretty to look at, Just be sure you separate the runners form the mother plant and you should be fine.

I watered mine in shortly after planting, always be careful that you do not saturate the leaves or young fruit (it will be light green) as this can be leading to fungus developing so keep the water close to the root systems.

Be sure they get around 6-8 hours of sunlight a day, they do need a lot fo sun, on days when it gets too hot they can do okay in partial shade.

picking first berry
Harvesting the “debut” berry…

You’ll know the fruit is on its way when you see its’ green, and later on it will appear white. Here I am with the debut fruit…as you can see it’s not fully riped yet, but I picked it and one more in another box, and set them in the window to finish turning red, that’s them in the small image.

Wherever you display your window boxes, regardless of their spot, don’t forget to fertilize them regularly and keep moist. We had a plan to display all our boxes in a shelf built ont eh backyard fence but that did not go according to plan. Perhaps we will try another approach? We’ll see what else we can come up with.

Oh, and dont forget about bird netting as your fruits start developing and turning red. Those tasty fruits aren’t just appealing to you or me. I put enough seed out there for them that hopefully they will leave them be and not get greedy, but I have some of those netting bags that produce comes in that I save to use later.

Fun Facts About Strawberries

There are 103 known varieties of cultivars.

Unsure when they were first cultivated historically, but records I found claim, around the 18th century in Brittany, France.

Stawberries belong to the rose family…they are not classified as a true “berry” because they have seeds on the outside.

A typical strawberry contains as many as 200 seeds.

May 20th is national Pick Strawberries Day

 

Have fun and wishing you a boutiful harvest !

 

 

 

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