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Strawberries, The Versatile Fruit

How to grow strawberries

Fruit trees and bushes are planted in the garden with the intention of remaining for the long term, providing produce for many years. In return for this supply of fresh fruit they require regular feeding, training, pruning and, in some cases, protection from harsh winter weather.  However, the most prolific, dependable and easiest fruit to cultivate is the strawberry.  Strawberries do not require much attention and provide great tasting fruit for very little effort.

Strawberries can be grown practically anywhere and are well suited to borders, hanging  baskets and container gardening. They are very popular with urban gardeners who manage limited space very carefully. Each plant generally has a productive life of 3-4 years but will put out runners for propagation the following year.

When to plant strawberriesThe young strawberries should be planted in autumn or late spring in a sunny position in well manured, free draining soil or multipurpose compost. The site should be sheltered from wind which would deter any insects from pollinating. The roots of each plant should be spread out over a small mound in the soil and backfilled so the crown of the plant is just poking above the surface. They can be grown in rows or clumps leaving a space of 6”/150mm between plants. Summer fruiting strawberries like Cambridge Favourite, a popular variety, will be ready for picking from June into July. Pots and containers can be placed under cloches or an unheated greenhouse for an early crop.

Strawberry flowerA small white flower grows in spring which eventually develops into the rich red berry. During this growing season a liquid potash feed should be applied weekly to promote healthy fruit development. A mulch, traditionally straw, should be placed on the soil to protect the ripening fruit from the damp compost and may also help to deter pests and weeds. The strawberries are ready to be harvested when the fruit is red and shiny, but daily inspections should be made in order to pick the tasty berry before birds and slugs arrive.

The ease of growing strawberries makes it ideal for for community and school gardening projects. Since they require little attention strawberries can be cultivated in beds or containers of any size making them portable and easy to manage, revitalising neglected spaces. With a relatively short growing season helped by a high success rate they promote a positive attitude towards gardening, home cultivation and healthy eating.

  1. Betsy Thornton

    Lovely post! Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits and I’ve grown up with the taste of the homegrown strawberries form my grandmother’s garden. Now I have them in my garden, inherited from my mother and transferred to my land , that give a lovely harvest every single year. The information you’ve given is quite helpful and interesting and I’m definitely recommending this post to some friends. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Andrew

      Hi Betsy. Thank you for your kind comments on our post, I am glad you found it helpful. Yes, strawberries are a fabulous fruit. That is great you are growing plants given to you by your grandmother, it is wonderful how plants can also be a part of your family history. Do you know what variety they are? Some of the older varieties have much better flavour than many of the modern ones.
      Happy growing!

      1. Betsy Thornton

        Honestly, I have no idea about the variety. The fruits are not too big but the flavour is more saturated and sweet than in many other varieties I’ve tried. What I love most about strawberry plants is that even when the plant is too old to produce fruits, they produce numerous runners with baby plants at the tips, and regrowing them is very easy. If I find out something about the variety of my strawberries, I’ll surely write 🙂 Greets!

  2. Brennie Ryan

    Hi Andrew

    I am about to plant my first ever strawberries, YAY!
    Could you advise me please on the best variety to grow for continual berries and flavour?
    Thanks a mill!


    1. Andrew

      Hi Brennie
      Sorry for the late reply to your question. Personally I think Cambridge Favourite is the best for flavour with good yields of sweet and juicy berries. I hope you have a great success with them! Andrew

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