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Growing Strawberries

By: Kate Bradbury - Updated: 30 Jul 2014 | comments*Discuss
Growing Strawberries

Growing Strawberries

Strawberries are easy to grow and are a very rewarding too. Often you will find just one variety of strawberry, ‘Elsanta’, is available to buy in supermarkets. This is because it stores well and is less prone to damage than other varieties. However, ‘Elsanta’ doesn’t always taste as good as other varieties of strawberry. Therefore growing your own will enable you to experiment with other, tastier types.

What’s more, by growing your own, you will eat the strawberries when freshly-picked, enabling you to eat fresher, tastier and more nutritious strawberries than if you buy them commercially.

How To Grow Strawberries

Strawberries thrive in a well-drained soil in full sun or part shade. It is easiest to grow strawberries from plants bought from the nursery or garden centre. The best time to plant them is in early autumn or in the spring. If you plant them in spring, remove any flower buds from the plants so they concentrate their energy on developing roots and becoming established. Space the plants 40cm (16in) apart in rows 1m (3ft) apart. Water well. It’s a good idea to mulch around the plants with a thick layer of well-rotted manure, compost or straw (some gardeners grow their plants through black polythene). This impenetrable layer will prevent weeds from growing and competing with the plants. It will also keep the soil moist so you won’t have to water the plants as often, and prevent soil splashing on the fruit.

Harvesting The Fruit

The strawberry plants will begin to flower from early summer. Once the flowers have died down, the fruit will develop. At this stage you will need to protect the young fruits from slug damage or damage from mud. It’s a good idea to mulch with straw or tuck handfuls of straw under the fruit trusses to ensure they are not in direct contact with the soil. Once the fruits are ripe (when they are deep red in colour and slightly soft to touch), simply pick them gently off the plant.

After the final fruits have been harvested, cut the remaining foliage down to about 10cm (4in) above the crown to allow new leaves to grow. Clear away and burn any debris from around the plants (including foliage you have removed). This prevents disease from building up around the plants and hampering growth next year. Water the plants thoroughly and apply a mulch of well-rotted manure or garden compost to provide nutrients to the soil to feed the plants.

Propagating Strawberries

At the end of the fruiting season, you will notice that the plants will have developed several runners, with small plants growing from them. These small plants grow roots and can be grown into new plants. The best time of year to do this is in late summer. Simply insert individual plants attached to runners into small pots filled with cutting compost. Sever each new young plant from the parent plant when it has rooted.

Strawberries taste delicious when eaten fresh from the plant on a warm summer’s day. There are plenty of varieties to choose from, often with a more superior natural flavour than those available to buy in the shops.

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@di, do you have the plants in a big enough container spaced far enough apart so they can establish good roots and so as not to have to compete to much with the other plants?
aggy - 30-Jul-14 @ 2:20 PM
I'm growing strawberries in wall baskets. I have had very few fruits but lots of leaves & runners. They are in miracle grow compost, I've watered them regularly & fed them fortnightly. I bought them as plants from a garden centre. what should I do with them? thank you
Di - 29-Jul-14 @ 5:22 PM
This a strawberry question dealing with if I can already transplant some strawberry plants that I have in pots in my unheated greenhouse to outside. First, It is mid-Februrary in Southern Illinois. Here it can get real cold and real hot but this Winter has been mild so far. I have had good luck in my yard growing strawberries and have been potting up out-of-place plants/runners in pots and putting them in my unheated greenhouse which gets real cold and real hot (on cold sunny days). I want to get ahead of the season by doing as much ahead of time as I can because I have two big gardens and I will be very busy when Spring actually comes about (and for the rest of the garden season). So, I was wondering if it is too early to put those strawberries that are already in pots and actually growing outside right now. I assume I would not be doing as much root damage or shock since they are in pots which means I will not be digging them up. I could use extra care planting them making sure I put each plant in a nice big hole with a half soil/half compost/mulch mixture and even cover them up with some more mulch. So, what do you think? Also, feel free to add any extra advice. Thank you very much, Jon Meier 320 Fieldcrest Dr Red Bud, IL 62278
Boze - 17-Feb-12 @ 4:26 PM
First proper year of growing strawberries and whilst the yield has been pretty good the taste has been disgusting - they taste so earthy, just like soil. I was given the plants as new baby plants a couple of years ago, have grown them in a dumpy bag full of soil from a friend's lawn (which she replaced with block paving). They are in a fairly shaded area under a sycamore tree. Any idea what is the cause of this taste problem? Should I start some new baby plants this year from the runners or persevere with the ones I have already.
Remypurr - 3-Aug-11 @ 11:36 AM
Losing strawberries through fruit drop. The patch is Unser a lilac tree is that my problem, is that the issue? Or is it wood lice. What is the treatment?
Les - 1-Jul-11 @ 8:34 PM
This is 2nd year for my strawbs and although plants laden with fruit the majority have been dropping off and rotting before ripening.How can I prevent this happening again next season?Wood lice have been munching on the few that have ripened what can I deter them with?
Jules - 29-Jun-11 @ 4:41 PM
Hi. For some weeks now I've been encouraged by the amount of growth, leaf wise, on my strawberry patches and have been looking forward to a bumper crop. However, to my dissapointment leaf foliage seems to be all I'm getting, with very few fruits and some of those no bigger than peas! There doeasn't seem to be any sign of disease. Should I be worried and what can I do to improve matters.Thanks.
DAVE - 12-Jun-11 @ 3:48 PM
Hi Good article. Can I ask a question. I have a large area of strawberries on my allotment which produce a large crop every year. I lose a significant amount however due to wood lice. Can you suggest how I tackle this problem. Thanks
streat - 9-Jun-11 @ 9:20 AM
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