It is so delightful when your strawberry plants produce a bumper crop of ripe, juicy red berries. But to enjoy the tastiest and most prolific fruits possible, there are a few things to take into consideration when selecting companion plants for your strawberry patch.
Companion planting is an age-old gardening technique that can have huge benefits if done right. However, it can just as easily lead to problems if the wrong combinations are made.
Today, I’ll address the best and worst strawberry companions so you know exactly which ones to choose in order to give your garden the best chance at success.
What to Plant With Strawberries
Good companion plants help keep bugs away from strawberries and improve their flavor, among other benefits.
There are several neighbors that you can place next to the strawberries.
- Sweet alyssum
Can you grow strawberries with zucchini? Most likely. Squash planted near strawberries can act as a ground cover, so I’m guessing zucchini will do the same.
Bad Companion Plants for Strawberries
It’s always tempting to overcrowd your garden for maximum yield, but beware of planting too close together. Some plants can do more harm than good.
Yes, there are certain plants that you don’t want near your strawberry crop, as they could introduce pests and plant diseases, among other things.
Here’s what not to plant next to strawberry plants:
- Swiss chard
These plants should generally be avoided when planting near strawberry beds.
How to Grow Strawberries
The process is quite easy; you just need to pick a spot with well-drained soil. Also, the plants need lots of sunlight.
Plus, they thrive best in slightly acidic soil. After planting, keep the spot well watered. You can grow them from root clumps, transplants, and even seeds.
These fruit plants require fertilizer that has nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in order to thrive. Also, fertilize four to six weeks after planting.
Strawberries are tasty and nutritious, but they can also attract a host of garden pests. One of the main culprits is slugs, which enjoy feeding on tender leaves and ripe fruits.
You should also watch out for strawberry root weevils, which feed on the root systems of strawberry plants. These pesky weevils can significantly weaken plants and reduce yields, so it’s important to treat them immediately if you spot them in your garden.
Other garden critters that may have an interest in your strawberries include aphids, earwigs, cutworms, and birds. Aphids suck the sap from the leaves, leaving behind an unpleasant sticky residue called honeydew.
Earwigs damage the fruits, while cutworms are notorious for cutting seedlings off at ground level. Birds will also feast on ripening berries unless you use netting or other bird-proof strategies.
Knowing which pests to look out for will help you keep your berry patch healthy and productive—even if you plant the right herbs or flowers alongside your strawberries!
Another problem you might encounter is anthracnose. Symptoms usually appear in late summer and include yellowing leaves and stunted growth. You should also look out for dark lesions on fruits and leaves, as well as sunken spots on the fruit itself.
Other common diseases include powdery mildew, verticillium wilt, and leaf spot.
To prevent these plant diseases from spreading and ruining your beautiful garden, be sure to:
- Practice crop rotation when planting strawberries.
- Plant in well-drained soil so that moisture doesn’t stay for too long around strawberry plants.
- Dispose of diseased plants immediately.
- Clear away any debris (leaves or straw) from around your strawberry plants to reduce spores in the area.
- Be sure to water at the soil level only (rather than the actual plant).
How to Harvest
Ripe fruits are ready about 4-6 weeks after the plants put forth blossoms.
The most important thing to do when harvesting strawberries is not to pull them from the plant—gently cut the stem instead. Pulling them from the stem can damage the plants, and tossing them into a basket can damage the soft fruits.
How to Store Strawberries
To enjoy them at their best, you’ve got to know how to store them correctly.
Keep them cold. If your strawberries were just picked from a garden or market, it’s best to store them in the fridge as soon as you can. This will keep them fresh for about 7 days in the refrigerator.
Also, rinse gently and pat dry. Before storing your strawberries, rinse them gently and pat them dry with a paper towel so it soaks up the excess moisture.
Finally, store in an airtight container. It’s recommended that you place the strawberries in an airtight container or plastic bag before placing them in the refrigerator to ensure that no moisture can escape or enter and ruin their delicate texture.
Where to Buy Seeds
There are plenty of online stores, nurseries, and local stores that stock a variety of seeds for different types of plants.
Before you make a purchase, make sure to check the seed packets to ensure you have enough time to use them. Seeds that are past their expiration date may not sprout.
It is important to keep your companion plant choices in mind when it comes to strawberries. Some plants can be beneficial, while others can be detrimental to your strawberry crop.
Therefore, do your research before planting and look for plants that are known to be beneficial to strawberry yields. With the right knowledge and care, you can make the most of your garden and reap the rewards of a larger and healthier harvest.