How to Make a Strawberry Basket
Even if space is a problem, you can certainly find a corner of your world to hang a strawberry planter. The sun-warmed, sweet berries are far superior to the store bought ones that ripen in plastic domes. Once established you have plenty more plants year after year. Growing strawberries in hanging containers is a simple way to grow numerous plants, and you don’t even need a garden. Establishing a fruit-bearing crop in a growing bag is not difficult, but there are a few key steps that will certainly help. Discover how to make a strawberry basket in just 4 simple steps.
Strawberries make attractive hanging basket plants and are ideal if you don’t have much growing space. This method of cultivation means you don’t get fungal damage from soil splash, and it stops slugs and snails from eating the fruits.
Plant a mixture of varieties with different cropping times to ensure a long season of fruiting. In return for regular watering and feeding, you should be able to pick a few strawberries every few days for a couple of months.
When planting in strawberry beds, it’s best to remove the first season’s flowers to encourage a strong root system, but that isn’t the case with baskets. Planting in spring with pot-grown plants allows you to crop in the first year and, if you are a bit late planting, you can use garden-center plants that have already started to flower.
You will need:
- 14–16in lined basket Large pot for support
- Multi-purpose potting compost with added John Innes
- Slow-release fertilizer granules
- Water-retaining gel crystals (optional)
- 3–5 strawberry plants (choose a mixture of varieties for a long season of fruiting)
Hanging baskets can get pretty heavy when filled with soil and water. Regular garden soil isn’t light enough and compacts too easily for hanging planters. The best choice is a container gardening mix that has lots of material mixed in to hold water, ensure drainage, and promote good air circulation. Add a few scoops of organic matter and mix well. Strawberries like an acidic soil so stay away from mushroom manure which typically has lime in it. I like to use my garden compost for the organic matter.
Strawberries are either June-Bearing (one large crop in early Summer) or Ever-Bearing (crop spread out over the summer months). I like June-bearing as they produce more fruit. Choose plants that are free from pests and disease, often it’s best to get them from a nursery to be sure. Strawberry plants spread quickly through runners so if you have an established patch somewhere, or a neighbour does, you can easily clip those to start your planter.
1) Water regularly
Plants can rot in soggy compost so don’t overwater and keep water off the foliage to avoid fungal diseases.
Use liquid tomato fertilizer once flowers begin to form. Add a slow-release organic fertilizer at planting (a balanced 10-10-10) and a compost tea when flowering. A compost tea or some Moo Poo Tea are perfect to water with every few weeks in the spring and early summer. Stop fertilizing when the fruit forms and water frequently for plump fruit.
3) Ensure even light
Turn the basket weekly to ensure that the fruits ripen evenly.
4) Remove runners
New plants form at the end of stems; remove to improve fruiting. Freshly cut runners can be rooted in lightly shaded pots of moist compost to create new stock. In strawberry beds, root runners in the soil before severing.
5) Encourage a second year of fruiting
Take the basket down at the end of the season and remove old leaves. The following spring, replenish the compost with fertilizer.
Step 1. Prepare the basket.
Sit the basket on top of a large pot to steady it. Cut a few drainage holes in the lining, a third of the way up the sides. Leave the bottom intact to retain water.
Step 2. Add the fertilizer.
Ensure plants don’t run short
of nutrients by adding slow-release fertilizer to the compost. You can also add water-retaining gel crystals.
Step 3. Plant the basket.
Plunge the strawberry plants in a bucket of water then space them evenly in the basket. Plant them at the same depth as they were in their pots. Gently firm the compost around the plants.
Step 4. Leave to acclimatize.
After watering, stand the basket in a sheltered spot to get over the shock of planting. Leave for around ten days then hang the basket on a sunny wall.