strawberries in baskets
Kristen's first ripe strawberry!

I don’t have a lot of space at home to garden, so I do most of my gardening at a community garden. However, I do have a small porch at home and try to utilize that space as best I can. This year, I decided to try growing strawberries in a hanging basket. I wasn’t sure how it would go, especially since I have monster squirrels around that have been known to eat budding peppers and the heads off sprouting sunflowers, but I gave it a shot. I’m excited to announce that, last week; I ate my first ripe little strawberry!

It was a pretty easy and fun project and I highly suggest trying it if you don’t have a lot of space at home or school to grow. Plus, kids of all ages will love watching the flowers blooming and the fruits growing out of them and eventually turning into DELICIOUS little berries.

A puppers who likes to help with planting

I used Alpine strawberry plants. They are much smaller than other varieties and are better suited for draping over a hanging basket. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of taste, as I had never tried them before, but I was pleasantly surprised. When picked at peak ripeness, they have a brilliant tart taste. I think I might like them even more than June-bearing! They also produce for longer, so I’ll be able to enjoy them into the fall.

Strawberries need a lot of water, so I invested in a self-watering container. It was worth it because the basket is wider and I could fit three plants inside, and don’t have to worry about watering if I go away for just one night. However, I did need to add moss to soften the edges of the basket in order to prevent the stems from breaking as they draped over the side. It was pretty cheap and easy to do. Just use paper clips to pin it down.

If you have a critter problem like I do, hanging baskets can be a great way to keep them out of reach. Unfortunately, most places to hang a basket on my porch are still accessible to squirrels, so I bought a hook and hung it off the front! This left space higher on my porch available for flowers!

Dangling from the porch, and safe from squirrels!
Moss around the basket edges provides cushioning for strawberry stems.

When the cold weather returns, I’ll bring the basket inside to care for it through the winter – and continue to enjoy them next year!

What are your tips for maximizing food growing in small spaces? What unique garden projects are you trying out this summer?

Blog by: Kristen Wirkkala

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