The best loved of all summer fruits with their sweet red berries irresistible to almost everyone; Strawberries are quite easy to grow. 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.
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. Look out for different varieties to have a mixture of fruit size and bearing times.
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 BioOcean 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 2015 are the Loran strawberries, a compact, early-bearing strawberry perfect for growing in a patio pot. Loran doesn’t produce as many runners as some varieties so it’s a good choice for small garden spaces. This is an ever-bearing variety that will produce sweet fruits all season.
Pick fruits as soon as they ripen since strawberries are a favourite for many birds and animals and there could be competition for the harvest. Plant them a ruler length apart, 30cm.
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 project for the children build a scarecrow to keep the birds off your precious fruit.