Strawberries are a favorite in the garden. Here’s how to grow your best strawberries using herbs like chives to fertilize and deter pests.
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Strawberries are the darlings of the homegrown garden because they are delicious and quick to yield. Since strawberries have the highest amount of pesticide residue compared to other fruits and vegetables, growing your own can be beneficial to your health.
It can also be economical, costing less than 50 cents per quart to grow your own, compared to paying $5 a quart for pesticide-free, store-bought berries.
Did you know that I’ve grown strawberries in my front yard? Read more about creating an edible landscape.
Are you ready to grow your best strawberries?
Nutrients for Healthy Strawberry Plants
To grow your best strawberries, you’ll want to feed the plants what they need and deter pests that are attracted to the sweetness of the berries (humans aren’t the only ones who find them delicious!).
Strawberries require nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and a few other trace elements to thrive.
Supply Strawberries with Nutrients Through Herbs
Herbs are actually very nutritious in small amounts, not only to humans when we add a pinch or two to our dinner, but also to other plants. This is great news for us, because it means that by growing herbs, we can grow a lot of our own fertilizers to supply the nutrients our food crops need.
This is a cornerstone of permaculture gardening. Permaculture is a system for designing agricultural landscapes that work with nature. Read more about permaculture here. In permaculture gardens, using herbs as fertilizer can help us save time and money.
Here are just a few of many herbs that I’ve written about which accumulate nutrients naturally:
Would you like to learn more about using herbs to improve the health of your crops, reduce maintenance, and increase yield?
You’ll find loads of information just like this in my award-winning book, The Suburban Micro-Farm.
Growing and Using Chives for Fertilizer
Chives are another plant on my list of fertilizing herbs. They add potassium and calcium to the soil via 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, and the chive trimmings are easily left as mulch around the strawberry plants.
Simply give the chives plant a haircut and sprinkle the trimmings throughout the strawberry bed while it is fruiting.
I suggest planting a variety of herbs to chop and drop throughout the strawberry bed to add an array of nutrients.
Read more about the benefits of growing 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 plants for mulch, and I’ll never have to buy chives seeds 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 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.
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Have you grown chives to improve your strawberry harvest?