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Grow the best Strawberries - Fragaria

Grow the best StrawberriesStrawberries, Fragaria, are quite easy to grow. The best loved of all summer fruits; their sweet red berries are irresistible to almost everyone. Very quick to produce their fruits, strawberry plants are an excellent crop for the amateur and seasoned gardener alike.

They are different from most fruits in that their seeds are produced on the outside of the fruit. Strawberries are perennial, winter hardy and will thrive in full sun as long as the soil is fertile and well drained. Healthy plants will produce an abundance of berries for three to four years and with the runners they produce one can be divided to increase your stock annually.

It is best to plant strawberries in autumn giving you a crop the first spring but strawberries can be planted anytime of the year. Flower buds should be kept picked off during the first month or so after planting to allow the plant to establish itself and develop strength for a big crop.

Strawberries grow very well in raised beds and in containers, particularly strawberry pots, where the soil retains the moisture but at the same time where it is well drained. Strawberries in can start to rot in waterlogged conditions.

Strawberries do not produce deep roots but they very much need their soil well-dug at planting. Prepare the soil before planting with as much compost as possible and include two handfuls of bone meal per square metre. After planting apply a dose of Wonder Organic Pellets. Strawberries are greedy feeders over a relatively short period of time so we recommend feeding them every six to eight weeks for the best results.

New for 2010 autumn are the Alpine strawberries. The variety Mignonette produces small scarlet red fruit that has an intense 'wild' aroma. The plants are strong growers and fruit all summer.
Strawberries do not travel well. The taste of home-grown garden strawberries is undoubtedly a hundred times better than the commercial varieties. Have a go at growing your own strawberries and for a fun holiday project for the children build a scarecrow to keep the birds off your precious fruit.