How To Grow Your Own Strawberries
In what kind of weather should you harvest strawberries?
Here's how to grow strawberries. Strawberries grow well in a wide range of soils but prefer a well-drained soil that's rich in humus. They also prefer full sun and being sheltered from the wind. Strawberries will rot when they get water logged, so they grow very well in raised beds where soil retains the moisture but there is no water logging. Plants can produce fruit for five or six years but after the first two years, it will be much lower and a build-up of pests and diseases can occur. Strawberry beds are usually cared for two or three years before they're cleared and planted on new ground. Plants can be planted outdoors from late June until September. Prepare the soil at least one month before planting. Dig down to a space depth, remove all the weeds and add lots of organic matter. Add two handfuls full of fish blood and bone per square meter. Few days before planting, apply general purpose fertilizers such as Grow More. Strawberries are very greedy feeders. Place the strawberry plant every thirty-five centimeters in rows that are about seventy-five centimeters apart. Plant with the crown at soil level and give them a lot of water. Slugs love strawberries so you'll need to be vigilant. Place a net over the plants to prevent birds and squirrels from eating the fruit. Pick any ripe strawberries so they don't rot on the plant. Check the plants every other day during the ripening period and harvest the fruit in dry weather. Pick the fruit gently to avoid bruising and make sure the green stalk remains attached to the fruit, between the rows and individual plants from late May. Place straws in a row under fruit trusses to suppress weeds and prevent the fruit lying on the ground. Barley straw is best as it's softer and more pliable. If you can't get straw, use polythene sheeting. Growing strawberries in a hanging basket keeps them out the way of slugs. Put five or six plants in each basket in spring. Water every day during growing season. From flowering until the harvest, feed the plants every ten days with a product that's high in potassium such as a tomato fertilizer. The same plants should continue producing fruit to the following year but crops will be better if the plants are renewed. After harvesting, remove the straw or matting that's been protecting the fruit from the ground. Compost the straw and debris or clean and store the matting for next year. Cut off the old leaves with hand shears and remove them leaving the crown and new leaves untouched. This allows sunlight into the center of the plant ensuring a better crop next year. Feed and water the plants well. Leave the nets off to allow the birds to pick off any pests. It's easy to propagate new strawberry plants. The plants will send out runners over the surface of the soil during the growing season. You can pack these down, usually June or July and leave them still attached to the mother plant. These will then root and form a separate plant. Don't allow more than five runners to develop from each plant. In August, when the runner plants are well-established, cut them from the parent and transplant them immediately and you'll have your next year's crop of strawberry plants for free. Enjoy your home-grown strawberries. .