When growing strawberries in a raised bed, start by choosing the right strawberry variety for your needs. Then, fill the beds with well-draining, slightly acidic soil. Put a layer of black plastic over the beds. Next, plant your strawberries with the crowns fully exposed. Water your plants on a regular basis after that to get large yields from your plants. Raised beds work wonderfully for strawberries. You can grow up to 16 plants in a four-foot by four-foot bed (120 cm by 120 cm).
5 Steps to Growing Strawberries in a Raised Bed
Strawberries respond very well to being grown in raised beds and can even be grown in pots. After following the process below, expect to harvest strawberries soon after flowers appear on your plants. The exact harvest time depends on the type of strawberries you planted, but strawberries often produce fruit for several months per year.
Choose Your Strawberry Varieties
Select your strawberry varieties before building your beds. Start by deciding if you want to grow everbearing or June-bearing strawberries. Then, select your preferred cultivar within the selected category. Go with everbearing varieties if you want a steady flow of fruit all season. Or select June-bearing strawberries if you want big harvests early in the summer.
Prepare the Soil for Strawberries
Fill your garden beds with a soil mix tailored for strawberries. Your plants want rich, loamy soil with lots of organic matter. Create that mix by combining garden soil with coarse sand, sphagnum peat moss, and compost. Do not use soil from your existing garden beds. Weed seeds in old soil will sprout and may crowd out your young strawberry plants. Check out some more soil acidity requirements for strawberries to encourage even healthier plants.
Put a Plastic Layer Over the Garden Bed
Place a layer of black plastic over the soil. Secure the edges of the plastic to the walls of the garden bed with staples, or simply bury them in the upper layer of soil. The plastic helps prevent weeds from overtaking your garden. Runners from the strawberries won’t be able to find spots to root either, so your strawberry bed won’t become overcrowded. The ripening strawberries can sit on the plastic, too. This helps prevent your fruit from rotting before you can pick it.
Plant Your Strawberries
Trim each strawberry’s plant’s roots until they are 4 inches (10 cm) long. Then, cut an X-shaped slit in the black plastic. Dig a hole 2 inches (5 cm) deep and as wide as the roots. Place the plant in the hole and bury the roots. The crown of the plant should sit above the soil line. Otherwise, the crown will rot and kill the plant. Plant one strawberry plant every 12 inches (30 cm) throughout the raised bed. For even more tips on the ideal planting process, check out our guide on how deep to plant strawberries.
Water Your Strawberries Often
Water your strawberries right after planting. Then, give them 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water per week after that. Two watering sessions per week often works best. But watch the weather to avoid watering after heavy rainfall. Strawberry plants prefer to grow in evenly moist soil. Too much moisture can cause the roots to rot.
Check your strawberries often to gauge their growth. Expect to harvest fresh berries every few days after the flowers start to appear. If you want an even bigger harvest, it’s a good idea to take the necessary steps to make strawberries produce more fruit.
Do Strawberries Do Well in Raised Beds?
Strawberries grow very well in raised beds as long as they have adequate room. Space your strawberry plants 12 inches (30 cm) from the walls of the bed and any other plants for the best results. This prevents tangled roots and plants from competing with one another. A cramped space can result in struggling strawberry plants and very few berries.
- Strawberries grow well in raised beds as long as you take the right approach.
- Give each strawberry plant 12 inches (30 cm) of clearance on all sides. Plant them 12 inches from raised bed walls and other plants (including other strawberry plants).
- In addition to raised beds, strawberries can be grown in pots.
Strawberries are so versatile that you can grow them in standard pots or this specially designed strawberry pot. When growing strawberries in raised beds or planters, monitor soil moisture closely. In many cases, pots and containers dry out more quickly than in traditional gardens.
How Many Strawberries Can Grow in a 4×4 Bed?
You can grow up to 16 strawberry plants in a four-foot by four-foot raised bed. The strawberries do best when given 12 inches of space to grow. Just map out the bed using the square foot gardening approach.
- A four-foot by four-foot raised bed can support up to 16 strawberry plants.
- Give your strawberries 12 inches of space to grow at their best.
- Map out the bed using the square foot gardening approach.
- Resist the urge to crowd your strawberries and always remove their runners.
- Plant the runners in a different bed to fill your garden space with berry plants.
Never crowd extra strawberries in your beds. Competition from too many plants can lead to poor health and small fruit yields from all the plants in the raised bed. That also means you cannot let runners set their roots. Clip runners off the plants as they appear. You can plant the strawberry runners elsewhere to create even more beds full of berry plants.
Will Strawberries Survive Winter in a Raised Bed?
Strawberries can easily survive the winter when grown in a raised bed. You may need to give them a little extra protection if you live in a cold climate. Wait until the plant goes dormant in the winter to do that. Dormancy occurs after temperatures fall below freezing at night.
- Strawberries can survive the winter when grown in a raised bed.
- Give your plants extra protection when growing them in cold climates.
- Wait for signs of dormancy, like a lack of new growth, before winterizing.
- Trim off the wilted leaves to prepare your plants for the winter months.
- Pile clean straw over your plants to protect them from the cold, then remove in spring.
Your plants are dormant when the crowns stop creating new growth. Prepare your plants for the winter by trimming off the dead, wilted leaves. Then, pile clean straw over the top of your plants. Remove the straw mulch before spring arrives to keep your plants healthy.
How Do You Take Care of Strawberries in a Raised Bed?
Growing strawberries in a raised bed is easy when you follow these steps:
- Choose between June-bearing and everbearing strawberries
- Create a rich, well-draining soil mix for your strawberries
- Add a layer of black plastic over the raised bed surface.
- Plant your strawberries 12 inches (30 cm) apart with the crowns exposed.
- Water your plants twice per week for a total of 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water.
When you take the right approach to growing strawberries, you’re sure to get big berry harvests. Your strawberries will come out sweet and juicy, allowing you to enjoy them fresh, preserved, and in all your favorite berry dishes.