The trick with strawberries is to plant them in a vertical planter or hanging basket so the berries are more or less suspended in the air, not turning to mush on the ground. I turned an old wooden medicine cabinet into a vertical planter last year by knocking out the mirror and replacing it with chicken wire, then drilling holes in the top, bottom, and back for drainage and air circulation. I placed it on its back and filled it with potting soil enriched with coco fiber. (Ask at the garden center for a potting soil with coco fiber designed for hanging baskets—it holds much more water, which you’ll want in a vertical planter.) With the chicken wire-framed door closed, I planted strawberries into the container, watered it, and let it get rooted for a couple of weeks before mounting it on a fence with L-brackets. Once it’s established, it just needs to be watered through holes drilled in the top or by gently spraying it head-on with the hose.
The strawberries to get are everbearing alpine strawberries, Fragaria vesca, which put out small, tart berries over a long season. (Actually, there are no bad strawberries to get. Try a bunch and you’ll figure out which ones you like best.) I particularly like ‘Golden Alexandria‘ for its lime green foliage, and ‘Tristan Day’ for its unusual pink flowers, or ‘Rainbow Treasure,’ with pink, white, and red flowers.. (The fruit’s not bad, either.)
They need at least 6 hours of sun and protection from hard frosts. Give them regular water and rich, organic compost. I feed all container plants with kelp meal and fish emulsion throughout the growing season; a little of that couldn’t hurt either.
Strawberry plants don’t live forever. Expect to get five years out of them, and that’s only if you renew them every spring by pulling off brown leaves, snipping back runners, and generally trimming the whole thing so that new vegetation sprouts from the crowns.
But once you’ve got a regular crop of strawberries going, cocktail hour takes care of itself. Smash them into rum, drop them in proseco—you get the idea.