Strawberries are easy to grow and not only do they take up little room they produce lovely flowers, scrumptious fruit and are easy to maintain. If you have a good harvest you never have to suffer from your glut of strawberries as there is so much you can do with them and nothing beats strawberry jam to take you through the winter months!
Here are some tips for growing your own strawberries:-
- Order strawberry plants from a reputable supplier ready for planting in early autumn. Alternatively, runners from current plants can be used to make new plants in June or July.
- Dig over the soil and plant in rows. If your soil isn’t good, the plants will fair better in raised beds or containers. Growing strawberries in a hanging basket keeps them out of the way of slugs. They can be planted in baskets in the spring.
- Water the new plants in thoroughly and for the next few weeks and feed once a week with a high potassium plant food. Regular watering and feeding will ensure a big yield and juicy fruit.
- It is often suggested that straw be tucked under the plants to prevent the strawberries from rotting on the soil. This will also suppress weeds.
- The plants should produce a yield for two to three years before they need replacing. It is suggested that you plant the new strawberry patch in a different area. You can use runners from your current plants to create new plants.
- Pick any fruit as soon as it is ripe to prevent it rotting on the plant.
- It is best to harvest fruit in dry weather.
- After harvest remove the old leaves with hand shears leaving the crown and new leaves untouched.
- To create your new plants from runners from current strawberry plants peg down the runners that are produced in June or July, eventually they will produce a separate plant. Don’t allow more than five runners to develop from each plant.
- Place a net over the plants to prevent birds eating the fruit and remove the net after harvesting to allow birds to pick off any pests.
- Why not try planting Hapil strawberries which grow well in containers and produce a high yield or Cambridge Favourite which is more disease resistant.
- Strawberries are great on their own, however if you fancy sprucing them up a bit, here's a tempting recipe from Nigella for Strawberry Shortcake.
Happy growing and eating!