Strawberries are a favorite in the garden. Here are a few simple permaculture tricks to grow your best strawberries using herbs like comfrey and chives to fertilize and deter pests.
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We grow strawberries in our front yard! Read all about our project to capture rainwater in the edible landscape in my article Front Yard Rainwater Catchment.
The Needs of Strawberry Plants
To grow your best strawberries, you’ll want to feed the plants good nutrition as well as deter the pests that are attracted to the sweetness of the berries.
The nutrient needs of strawberries include nitrogen, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and a few other trace elements. Most of these essential nutrients can be found in comfrey and chives.
Supply Strawberries with Nutrients Through Herbs
The roots of the herb comfrey reach deep down and dredge up essential nutrients, which accumulate in its leaves. Comfrey leaves make a great fertilizing mulch when chopped, transferring the nutrients to the soil. I grow comfrey in other parts of my yard, but I chop the leaves and use them as mulch around the strawberries to add potassium, calcium, and magnesium to the soil of the strawberry bed.
Comfrey can be used in many other ways as a fertilizer.
Read more about comfrey in these posts:
- What is Comfrey and How to Grow It
- Mulching in the Permaculture Garden
- 7 Ways to Fertilize the Garden with Comfrey
Chives are another accumulator of nutrients. Chives add potassium and calcium to the soil through their chopped-and-dropped leaves. I grow chives right in the strawberry bed. When the chives are finished flowering they can be trimmed for a tidier look. The chive trimmings are easily left as mulch around the strawberry plants.
Read more about chives in my post 5 Reasons to Grow Chives.
Here are the seeds I purchased to begin growing chives around my garden. Now, I save the seeds from dried flower heads before trimming the plant for mulch, and I’ll never have to buy them again!
Another benefit of growing chives in the strawberry bed is their pest-deterring qualities. The strong scent of chives screens the sweet smell of the berries, deterring the slugs and confusing the pests attracted to the sweetness.
Strawberries for the Edible Landscape
I grow a variety of strawberries called Seascape. While regular June-bearing strawberries reduce berry production after three years, Seascape is a longer-producing variety. Also, the plants produce fewer runners, which means fewer bare spots in the edible front yard.
Need more ideas for building soil in the permaculture garden?
Click here to get your 19-page Guide to Organic Soil Amendments!
- Building the Right Compost Bin
- The Lazy Gardener’s Way to Make Fertilizer
- 5 Weeds You Want in your Garden
Would you like to learn more about using herbs to improve the health of your garden crops, reduce maintenance, and increase yield?
You’ll find loads of information just like this in my book, The Suburban Micro-Farm.
Have you grown chives to improve your strawberry harvest?