Monday, April 18, 2022

Potting strawberries

We don't have garden beds in yet. We have so many projects we're working on that I don't know how far we'll get on the garden this year. It hardly matters; now is the time to start seedlings or transplant, and we're almost beyond that window of opportunity.

But I have garlic planted, and the means to plant potatoes (watch for a future blog post). But the one thing I wanted to get in was strawberries. We all love strawberries!

But since we had no place to transplant bareroot plants, I held off ordering them. Then I had a head-clunk moment: Duh, why not just pot them? With the issue solved of where to put bareroot plants, I went ahead and ordered.

In our last garden, I had two beds of everbearing strawberries and ten tires of June-bearing. By far the everbearing strawberries were more prolific and had better "stamina," so I decided to stick with everbearing for my future garden. After a bit of online research, I ordered 75 bareroot plants from Gurney's, specifically a variety called Fort Laramie, which seemed like a good overall match for our area.

The plants arrived on April 6, bundled in packages of 25.

The box came with a convenient and generic growing guide which – ironically – covered everything but strawberries. Go figure.

Fortunately I've planted enough strawberries in my day to know what to do.

I started by removing the bareroot plants from their packaging and laying them in a large bowl.

Then I filled the bowl with water to let the roots soak for a couple hours. This lets the roots rehydrate, and breaks the plants' dormant cycle.

While the roots were soaking, I scoured the barn for pots. I had to draw together a mishmash of various sizes, but I finally pulled together 75. (As it turns out, I needed 77 since the nursery sent a couple extra plants.)

Last fall we had some topsoil delivered, so I brought over a cart-ful.

I filled all the pots and had juuuust enough dirt in the cart to get all 77 filled.

I set all the pots out on the edge of the porch, ready to plant the strawberries.

By this point, the roots were pretty well soaked. I brought them outside, along with a pair of scissors.

Bareroot strawberries need their roots trimmed before planting. Here are two plants: Top with untrimmed roots, bottom with trimmed roots.

Trimming not only allows plants to be planted more easily, but it allows the roots to be fanned out properly for best results (less crowding). It also stimulates root growth.

Then it was a matter of plopping a plant into each pot, making sure the roots were fanned out as much as possible.

Then I scrounged up lids or tubs to put the pots in, and arranged everything on a west-facing part of our deck where they'd get the most sunlight.

Within a couple days, leaves were starting to unfold...

...just in time to get our late-season snow dump.

Fortunately strawberries are hearty and forgiving souls, so they'll do just fine until we have garden beds to transplant them in.

Little by little, step by step.


  1. So nice to see you getting at least *some* gardening in. And thank you for the information on this post. Living in zone 9 I ordered and planted 25 bareroot plants from Gurney's back in Feb, but I didn't know about the soaking or trimming of roots. All but 3 died, only one of which I would say is thriving. Not Gurney's fault, the plants they shipped were in perfect condition. I will try again using your tips and see if they fair better!

  2. Somebody must really love strawberries! What you accomplished there is no small task. I noticed that you already had the soil and knew exactly where the pots were. Preparation is key to everything.
    I don't know how you feel about onions, but save the root ends when you cook with them and just stick them in dirt, maybe around the base of a tree. They come up and have big stalks, so lotsa chives to dehydrate, and bulbs about like leeks. They make seed umbrels and the seeds make more onions. Carrot tops make carrot greens and also bloom and make seeds. Celery bottoms grow more celery, but critters tend to harvest those before me. Not so with onions or carrots.
    I have a neighbor taking the edible landscaping thing very seriously and is just sticking things in dirt all over everywhere with no prep. That would never work for me but his Hodge podge planting is working for him.
    I think gardening is sort of like investing. When you use multiple approaches, even if one or two don't work all the time, others will multiply.
    Congrats on your strawberry pots!

    1. "Gardening is like investing", I love that!