How to Grow Strawberries
Perhaps the best loved of all summer fruits; strawberries are sweet, succulent and utterly delicious. With a little knowledge, they’re also refreshingly easy to grow in your own back garden, making them a perfect plant for amateurs and even children to try their hand at. After all who can resist the appeal of home-grown strawberries?
It might surprise you to learn that strawberries can be grown almost anywhere- in raised flower beds, pots or even hanging baskets. In fact strawberry plants are relatively hardy; the only two ingredients they really need are plenty of sunshine and good drainage. For this reason you should always try to plant your strawberries in sunny areas, ideally on high ground.
When you purchase your strawberry plants always aim to get them into the ground as soon as possible, even if this means planting them in pots until your preferred site is ready. The optimum time for planting outside is between late June and September. This ensures that the plants have enough time to establish themselves and are ready to bear fruit for the following summer.
If you are putting your strawberry plants directly into the ground, plant them in rows about 75cm apart and prepare the soil by digging it over and adding fertiliser or manure. And because strawberries produce their seeds on the outside, it is advisable to cover them with a net to prevent birds and other wildlife eating them. Once planted regularly hoe between the rows and remove any perennial weeds and dead leaves.
You will know your strawberries are ready for picking when they are fully coloured. During the harvest period check your plants every day for ripened fruit. These should be removed as soon as possible to prevent the plant from rotting. To avoid damaging the fruit always pick your strawberries gently with the green stalk still intact.
Strawberry plants are hardy perennials which will produce fruit for about 3 to 4 years. Why not plant a few different varieties to ensure you have fruit all summer long?