Gardening with Children

Family Zone

Why not grow your own Strawberries this year?

Date Posted: 15 April 2013

If you love Strawberries and would like to grow your own this year now is the ideal time to get started. Nothing beats the taste and smell of freshly picked Strawberries, their flavour is far superior to anything that you can buy in the shops.
 

Strawberries on plate

Which Strawberry should I choose?

There are three types of Strawberry plants:
 
Alpine which produce lots of small fruits with a distinct aromatic flavour.
 
Summer fruiting which produce a good crop of medium/large fruits over a period of about 2 months in early/mid Summer.
 
‘Ever bearing’ or ‘Perpetual’ which produce fruits over a long period often cropping 2 or 3 times from Spring well into Autumn.
 
There are so many different varieties available, cropping at different times throughout the summer in various shapes and sizes but all of them equally delicious, why not plant a few different varieties to give you a continuous crop for many months, you could be picking Strawberries from April to October.
 
 Strawberry table
 

When, Where and How to grow Strawberries?

Strawberries can be planted in Spring or Autumn and are available in garden centres, supermarkets, on the high street and via mail order either in pots or as bare root runners.
 
Young Strawberry plants
 
Strawberries can be grown practically anywhere -  in the ground, raised bedsstrawberry tablespots,hanging baskets, troughs, window boxes and in Strawberry bags/tubs and prefer a sunny and sheltered position.
 
 
Stawberries planted in the ground benefit from a fertile, well drained soil, dig in plenty of compost or well rotted manure prior to planting with a sprinkling of organic fertilizer, plant 45cm apart leaving 75cm between rows, position the Strawberry plant so that the crown is at soil level, planting too deeply can rot the crown or too high and the plants may dry out and die. Plant Container grown Strawberries in good quality compost adding Rain Gel Water Storage granules to prevent the compost from drying out and a slow release fertiliser. Container grown Strawberries are perfect if you are limited for space and will keep the fruits out of reach of slugs and small animals and deter the birds. Water your plants well after planting. It is recommended that you replace your Strawberry plants after 3 years each time replant in a new position or new compost if grown in containers.
 

Feeding and Watering

To ensure a good crop water and feed your plants regularly, especially whilst they get established and during dry weather, feed container grown plants every two weeks with a high potash feed.
 
Slug Gone 3.5 Litre

Protecting your crop

Protect Strawberry flowers with fleece on frosty nights, removing it during the day to allow bees and insects to pollinate the flowers.
Place dry straw underneath the fruits as they develop to lift them off the ground and prevent them from rotting. Slugs can be a problem be vigilant and apply a safe and organic repellent such as Slug Gone. Birds love Strawberries as much as we do get prepared early and cover your crop with bird netting before they begin to ripen.
 
 Premier Anti Bird Net Cloche
 

Aftercare

After your plants have finished cropping remove netting, straw, runners (unless you want to propagate new plants) and cut back old foliage to increase the air flow. To grow new plants from runners pin the plantlets into the soil or in pots of compost (without cutting the stem) and they will readily root.
 
Each Spring fork in a general purpose fertiliser around your plants.

 

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