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The sweet taste of strawberries is reminiscent of summer days. Their juicy texture and bright colour are a lovely addition to summer drinks and a refreshing fruity snack. It’s easy to grow your own strawberries with my top tips.

These are hugely popular fruits all around the world, and in 2017 the world production of strawberries was 9.2 million tonnes.

Wild strawberries have grown in Britain since the ice age, but the first garden strawberry was grown in France in the late 18th Century.

Growing strawberries

Strawberries are very easy to grow, and can be grown almost anywhere, whether you have a balcony with a window box or hanging basket, patio garden or a large growing space.

Plants can be bought as potted plants or as bare-root runners.

  • Potted plants can be planted as soon as you buy them.
  • Bare root runners can be bought from late summer to early spring and should be planted in early autumn or early spring.
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In March to April, plant the strawberry plants and water them frequently to help them settle into their new space. When watering, water the soil directly rather than the crowns and fruit because this can lead to diseases.

Position them in a place with fertile, well-drained soil, sun, and shelter.

Then, to encourage growth and fruiting, it’s important to feed with the right feed at the right time. In early spring, feed with a general fertiliser. During growing season, apply a liquid potash feed such as tomato feed such as Levington® Tomorite® Pour & Feed™ every week or two.

Things to know

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So, there are two types of strawberries. The most commonly grown are summer fruiting strawberries that have the largest fruit and provide crops through summer.

Then, perpetual strawberries that supply small crops of fruit through summer to autumn. These are a great option if you want to extend the season for a little bit longer.

• Protect your crops by using netting if you have hungry birds with an eye on your sweet strawberries. Or if squirrels are an issue, wire mesh is ideal.

• Just before the fruits begin to develop, place some straw as bedding around the plant to keep the fruit clean and to help suppress weeds.

Harvesting

Wait until the strawberries are fully red on the plant before harvesting because once they are picked, the ripening process stops. To harvest, simply pinch the stalk to release the fruit.

You’ll get the best taste if you eat strawberries straight from the plant. However, you can store unwashed fruit for a few days in the fridge. You could use them to spruce up your summer drinks or smoothies.

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When you’ve harvested all of the crops and growing season is over, cut the foliage down to about 5cm from ground level and give it a feed with all-purpose fertiliser.

Types to try

• ‘Hapil’ is a summer fruiting variety that will fruit large strawberries with a sweet flavour, even when growing in dry conditions

• ‘Alice’ are a lovely mid-season variety to grow for a crop from June to July. The shiny orange-red strawberries have a delicious flavour.

• ‘Mara Des Bois’ is a perpetual pick, with large and aromatic fruits that you can enjoy from June to August.

Fun facts

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What’s not to love about the combination of strawberries and cream? This classic combination has Tudor roots, as Thomas Wolsey (a right-hand man to Henry VIII) served strawberries and cream at his feasts as early as the 1500s.

So, try your hand at growing sweet strawberries this year. Whether you are growing on a balcony or in a container garden, you can have a crop that will go deliciously with cream!

Find out more about growing your own fruit here:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

Fruit bushes for your garden
Pinterest
Pinterest Board


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