By Jennifer Loucks

Annual strawberry varieties grow well in a container placed in full sunlight. Set bare-root strawberries in a container that is specifically designed for growing the tasty fruit. The multiple holes on the side of the container allow room for the plants to grow out and require little space. This type of growing system allows those with small or no yards to have fresh fruit during the summer. Plant the bare-root strawberries immediately after purchasing to prevent the exposed roots from drying out.

Cut a piece of wire mesh to fit the bottom of the container. Place the mesh into the container before adding soil. The mesh allows for water drainage and limits soil loss.

Add a well-draining potting soil to the bottom of the container, stopping at the first set of holes.

Stick the bare roots through a hole so the crown of the plant — the top of the roots where the plant develops — is near the edge. Cover the roots with soil, leaving the crown exposed. Tamp the soil lightly to hold the plants in place. Repeat this process with each hole on this level.

Add soil to the container, stopping at the next level of holes. Set the bare-root plants into the holes in the same manner as the lower level. Cover the roots with soil and tamp to hold in place. Repeat this process for each level of holes in the container.

Fill soil to within 1 inch of the top of the container and tamp it lightly. Dig a 3- to 4-inch hole and set one bare root strawberry into the top of a small container or three in a large container.

Add a 1-inch layer of sphagnum moss around the plants in the top of the container to retain soil moisture. Fill in empty space around the side holes with sphagnum moss to limit soil loss during watering.

Set the container on top of two or three wooden blocks or bricks to open the bottom drainage hole.

Apply water to the container until it runs out of the bottom hole. Continue to provide water to keep the soil moist, but not wet, during the growing season. Monitor the soil moisture every day, especially when there is no weekly rainfall.

Apply a high-phosphorous fertilizer after the first set of flowers appears on the strawberry plants to promote fruit production. Repeat the application every two weeks until the end of the growing season. Follow the product instructions for application details.

http://www.howtoplantstrawberries.com

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