Growing Strawberries

For a summer berry the strawberry is hard to beat and they taste so much sweeter when pick from the garden and warmed by the sun. For a natural tooth whitener try a strawberry. Cut the top off the strawberry and rub the berry over your teeth, leave it for minute or two then clean your teeth normally.

Planting Strawberries require a warm sunny site that has good drainage; poor drainage will cause your plants to rot before spring gets here. If you don’t think your drainage is good enough then a raised garden beds is ideal. Most garden soils are fine to use except for heavy clay, but the addition of some compost will give you the best conditions.

Once you have dug through your compost you can apply a dressing of strawberry food as you plant, mixing it in the soil at the same time.

Your plants when planted in June will sit dormant for a while so don’t be concerned if you don’t see any new growth, the cold holds this off until spring and the warmer weather arrives. Once you see new growth, then you can fertilise the plants again just add the mix to the side of the plants and very lightly fork this through the soil then water it in.

Care Once they start producing new leaves they will need fertilising with strawberry food or blood and bone. Feed by sprinkling a little on the soil at the side of the plant and mixing it very lightly with the soil, then give them water and this will help take the fertiliser to the roots where it is needed. Watch out for frosts and cover your plants if necessary.

The secret to juicy berries is water, so once the berries form on your plants they need lots of it; maybe it is because strawberries are made up of nearly 99% water.

Mulching is done when the plant produces flowers, mulching is important as it keeps the fruit off the soil which will reduce the risk of a fungus infection. It will also keep the weeds down and the fruit clean and conserve water in the summer months. Straw is usually used but pine needles, lawn clippings are ok. Whichever mulch you use it is best to apply another dressing of fertiliser and water before you do.

How to get new plants from your old Strawberry plants need to be replaced around every 3 years and rather than divide old plants it is better to use the runners that your plants produce. Runners are offshoots that grow from the main plant; they are not hard to spot. Runners will be produced throughout the season and they are best removed until the plant has finished fruiting– this will keep the main plant producing well. Once all the plant has finished then you can now leave the plants to produce the runners for your new plants. The runner will grow away from the main crown and take root in the soil, choose only the best to re use and they are usually ready for separating from the main plant within around 6 weeks. Prune the long runner separating the plants lift gently from underneath the new plant and then replant where you want, they will develop a crown during the next few months.

Team Tips • Watch out for late frost – cover your beds on those cold still clear nights. • Bird netting is still the best form of protection from the birds but a trick is to not stretch it out to wide, drape it loosely over the beds. If the holes become too big the birds will just get through. • Old newspapers make a good blanket use a couple of sheets and peg it down over your plants. • You can make your own strawberry fertiliser by mixing 10 parts blood and bone to 1 part sulphate of potash. • Don’t let the lack of room stop you from growing your own berries, strawberries grow well in pots.



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