How to Grow Strawberries in a Tower Garden
Those sweet red berries don’t just taste good. They are good for you. Packed with vitamins, fiber and high levels of antioxidants, strawberries are among the top 20 fruits when it comes to antioxidant capacity and they are also a good source of manganese and potassium.
To the novice gardener, growing strawberries can seem a little daunting. And while it does require you to be a little more hands on compared to something like parsley, it’s really not as difficult as you might think.
In this post we’ll break it down so you can start growing your own succulent strawberries in your Tower Garden.
What Type of Strawberries Should you Choose?
June-bearing strawberries produce a single, but pretty large harvest of berries each year, in just a few short weeks in the early summer. For this reason, many gardeners in the Northern US and Canada prefer this type. However, as June bearing strawberries produce their first crop the second year after planting, you won’t see many Tower Gardeners growing this type of strawberry.
Everbearing strawberries begin bearing at the same time as June bearers. The difference is, they will continue to produce providing conditions are favourable and temperatures are between 35-85 F. While overall production is a little lower, they will continue to set flower buds regardless of the number of hours of daylight. They are also known as day-neutral because of this. The Albion Seedlings we have are Everbearing. Sign up to be notified when they are available.
If you’re not sure which strawberry type or variety to grow, ask your local extension office for recommendations based on your area.
Planting Strawberry Seedlings
Strawberries are pretty cold hardy and you can grow them providing your temperatures stay above 35˚ F. Some varieties may be grown from seed, but you will usually save yourself about three years if you purchase seedlings or bareroot. I know I don’t have that kind of patience!
Growing Strawberry Seedlings
There are a few things to consider before planting strawberries. Let’s go over them below.
Strawberries, like any other fruit producing crop requires at least 8 hours of direct sunlight. Any less and you’ll struggle to get a decent yield. If using grow lights you will usually need them to be on for quite a few extra hours. For example, it is recommended that you have your Tower Garden LED grow lights on for at least 14 hours. While Tower Garden do not recommend using them to grow fruiting plants inside, some Tower Gardeners have had success with this.
Hand pollinate flowers (if necessary)
If you’re growing inside, or your Towers are producing flowers but no fruit, you need to “be the Bee”. You’re going to need to pollinate. It’s sounds difficult, but it’s not. Take a small paintbrush, q-tip or electric toothbrush (with a head you are not using, obviously) and brush the inside of each flower to transfer the pollen. You should see signs of berries in a few days. You can find more information on hand-pollination here.
Remove and plant runners
Many strawberry varieties produce runners. These are root-like off shots that help Strawberry plants “reproduce”. If the remove the runner, it tells your plant to focus on more fruit production and that will result in bigger harvests. You can put the runners in water until they root, then place them in a rockwool cube.
Preventing Pests and Diseases in Strawberries
Tower Garden greatly reduces the risk of pests and plant diseases. But you should still check your strawberry plants for the following problems periodically:
- Aphids are small insects that typically feed on young plant growth, causing it to appear puckered or deformed.
- Mites are sap-sucking insects that stunt plant growth and sometimes even kill plants.
- Japanese Beetles feed on plant leaves and flowers.
- Powdery mildew forms a white-gray powdery growth, usually on the upper surfaces of leaves.
If you do notice a problem, here’s how you can naturally deal with pests.
Our strawberry seedlings are almost ready to ship. They should be made available on the website to purchase by Monday. Sign up to be notified or order here.