Bare Root Strawberries

About a week ago, I received the bare root strawberries that I had ordered a while back. When I opened the package, this is how they looked; horrible!

How To Plant Bare Root Strawberries

I guess I imagined that they’d come in neat little individual trays, all perky and green; ready to go. These… not so much.

I was afraid that since they were so dry and shriveled up, that they would not live. I immediately put them in a bowl of water, hoping to revive them. I needed to put them out in the garden, but it needs to be tilled again before I start planting, and it was still raining outside.

Not sure if I was doing the right thing with the plants or not, I decided to try calling Heirloom Acres, where I had ordered them from. I was really surprised, impressed really, when Thom Kirk himself got on the phone to answer all of my questions. I guess that’s the benefit of dealing with a small family business. I was ever so appreciative for his time!

He assured me that I hadn’t done anything wrong. Ideally, I should have left them in the paper they were wrapped in (for up to a week), until I could plant them; stored in a cool, dry place. But he told me to go ahead and drain the water from them, wrap them up in newspaper and put them in the fridge, being sure to keep them from freezing. He also told me that I could put them in a pot with some potting soil until I could plant them outside, but I didn’t have any soil on hand.

Up until today they’ve stayed in the bottom of my fridge. The ground is still too wet to be worked, so I really can’t get them into the garden yet. I was afraid that the plants would soon die if I didn’t get them in some dirt though, so I decided that today would be planting day.

Bare Root Strawberries

My husband was sweet and brought home a bag of potting soil for me. We also had a bag of compost/manure that I used. I had spotted several big planting pots in the woods beside my dad’s house the other day, and snagged them up for the project.

Planting Bare Root Strawberries

Since I didn’t have enough potting mix to fill all of the planters, I decided to fill the bottoms of the pots with topsoil from the garden, then fill the rest with soil and compost. The kids were happy to help, and busily filled them up!

Before planting, I trimmed the roots of the plants to about 4 in. When you plant strawberries, you need to make sure to plant only to the crown of the plant; meaning plant only to the top of the roots. If you plant too deeply (or too shallow) it will die.

planting bare root strawberries

Once I had the soil and compost mixed well, I put 5 plants in each planter. After about an hour and a half of doing this job, however, I got so tired of digging and planting that I gave up! So, after planting 14 of the strawberries individually, I decided to just stick the 11 remaining plants into one pot as a big clump. I really didn’t care at that point. I was exhausted!

I gave them all a good sprinkling with the hose. They look horrible.

I do hope they survive until I can properly plant them.

Boy, this gardening stuff is hard work! Filling and hauling those heavy containers from the garden to the back steps wore me out. It would be so much easier to just go to a nursery and buy some nice looking strawberry plants whenever my garden is ready, and plant them instead of nurturing these for a time.

I’m feeling overwhelmed, and discouraged already. And I haven’t even broken into the whole garden bed! Maybe it’s being almost 6 months pregnant, eating junk food all day (bad, I know), and catering to my other two children non-stop. I don’t know, but I’ll be so frustrated if nothing I plant even grows!

Okay, sorry for the negativity! I’m really just venting right now. I hope I’m not spreading my bad aura onto the plants… maybe I should go sing to them or something 😉

Oh, I sure hope they grow!


Yay! They’re alive!!

Planting Bare Root Strawberries

I ended up transplanting these babies to the garden a few weeks later. You can read about how I initially tried the mound method here.


My strawberries have done amazingly well. I’ve actually moved them to a raised bed, and they keep coming back like a champ!

strawberries in raised bed
strawberries in raised bed – one year later
Planting Bare Root Strawberries

2 yrs. later

Woops! Way too crowded now! These guys will be thinned out and transplanted to new homes. It’s amazing how quickly they multiply! Sure makes the money well worth spending.

Have you ever planted bare root strawberries? What’s your favorite variety of strawberry to grow?

11 thoughts on “Bare Root Strawberries”

  1. I hear ya, sister. I’m 27 weeks pregnant (almost 7 months) and all I have energy for after a day of taking care of kids and home is a stroll thru my husband’s garden. I almost don’t have energy to unwrap that cadbury creme egg calling my name (almost, somehow I get it done). I keep telling myself there’s always next year, hopefully I won’t be pregnant again! I might get around to planting some basil, yum- pesto sauce!

  2. You did well.
    Almost twenty years ago I tilled a 20’x70′ garden and used the following:
    (All pre-started in the basement until the frost date)
    Eggplant, Peppers, Tomatoes, stringbeans, strawberrys, peas, polebeans, cukes, etc. I planted the dozen corn on the North end so as not to shade the rest.
    I used grass clippings as mulch, as well as pathway cover, and didn’t have to mess with plastic.

    It was an almost overwhelming amount of work, and I was then a 35 year-old Ironworker.

    When everything was ripe, the stores had the same produce at the cheapest prices of the season.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying don’t do it, just be aware of the work and frustrations you will encounter. The life you have growing inside you will be your most important yield this season

    (My garden this year will be 100’x100′)

  3. I have to say to every that has responded to Kendra, not only does it sound like you lifted her but you lifted me as well!

    Kendra, the experiences you are sharing are really a blessing to me. That’s little reassurance at times I’m sure 🙂

  4. Kendra, don’t worry about your strawberries. My berries looked just like yours and I put them in the ground a couple of weeks ago and they have greened up and started to grow. One thing that I like to mulch mine with is straw. It helps to keep the berries off the ground and hold in the moisture. Keep up the good work.

  5. Kendra, don’t be so hard on yourself. Maybe your garden will be a little too big to manage this year, but so what. You’re starting one and that’s the important thing. You could always cut back a couple of each plants for this year to make harvesting a little easier. I am thankful for all your hard work as I am right behind you, I ordered strawberries as well, you saved me from calling Mr. Kirk. Sometimes when I have an overwhelming task, I break it down into 15 minute segments. We all have 15 minutes worth of energy.Except for naps, I always allow more time for those!!!

  6. I planted my strawberries last week. They looked just like yours, pretty pathetic. I hope both of ours grow! I hope you’re feeling better too!

  7. You are doing a great job! My instinct would’ve been to plop them into water too. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Think of what you DID get done! It seems overwhelming right now, but very soon, it’ll start to fall into place. Keep up the good work. It’s so very worth it!!

  8. Try and keep heart, your garden will likely succeed and with your children in tow and being pregnant, what you have already achieved means that much more as most in your position would have gave up long ago and bought the strawberries in a container from the grocery store 🙂 Wish me luck when my garden is ready to plant

  9. I am planning on planting strawberries this year too. I got some last year, but never got the spot tilled before the plants rotted (I kept them in a bowl of water! Yikes!) This year, I think I will just devote a raised bed to the strawberries, since I’m hoping they will last a number of years!

    Thanks for the planting advise… maybe I’ll do better this year!

  10. Kendra, reading your post made me think of my little sister who was pregnant last summer. She and her husband planted a HUGE garden and she ended up not being able to harvest and put up all of it because she was 8-9mos pregnant when harvest time came around. Her husband tried to help out as much as possible, but they just couldnt keep up, their garden was that big. Poor thing got tired after about 15 min in the garden. I dont want to discourage you, but I dont want you to get disappointed if you plant such a big garden and then are just too darn tired to work it all. Maybe your family could help out?


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