Frost is the first thought when considering where to grow strawberry plants in your garden. They are very hardy plants during the winter but are not so hardy when they burst into life in spring. Strawberries produces flowers early in the Spring and because they are close to the ground, it is important to position strawberries where they have least risk of frost. The highest ground is always the best. Frost damage when they start into growth will occur if the temperature drops below -2°C or -4°C with cloche or poly-tunnel protection.
Soil and Planting
Strawberries do not produce deep roots, but they very much appreciate their soil being well-dug to a spades depth. Prepare the soil at least one month before planting. Incorporate as much organic matter as possible and include two handfuls of bonemeal per square metre (yard). A few days before planting apply the recommended dose of general fertiliser such as Growmore. Strawberries are greedy feeders over a relatively short period of time.
As the fruit begins to develop, their weight will cause them to lay on the ground. Before this happens (but no earlier than necessary), cover the soil around the plants with either straw or black plastic. Where plastic is used, it can be kept in place with stones - small holes should be made in the plastic to allow drainage and stop water gathering on it. The plastic or straw will prevent the fruits from lying directly on the soil which will rot them.
If you have a bird population in your garden, the plants should be protected (when the fruits begin to swell) with light weight plastic netting. This should be held clear of the plants by tying it to short wooden posts and securing the netting to them.
Wire mesh can also be used, held in place by canes at either corner.
A more permanent and effective solution to bird damage of many fruits is a fruit cage.
Diseases and Pests
The major pests and diseases of strawberries are aphids, red spider mite, slugs, powdery mildew and botryitis.