The strawberry season is in full swing now and nothing beats the taste of a freshly harvested home-grown strawberry.
Strawberries are so easy to grow that they’re on our list of top ten plants for children. They’re tolerant of a wide range of soils and can be grown in patio pots, hanging baskets, window boxes or directly in the ground. Provided you pick a sunny spot and water regularly after planting until plants are established, you’re onto a winner.
Our top tips for strawberry growing:
1.Avoid those strawberry towers at all costs. They’re difficult to water (the water tends to flow straight out of the plating holes) and a regular pot or planter is much better.
2.Don’t get bogged down with choosing the “best” variety. The majority of our strawberries are grown from plants rescued from a jungle of overgrown grass and weeds on our allotment. We have no idea what type they are, but they’re delicious eaten straight from the plant with zero food miles and no cold storage anywhere in sight.
3. Plant at the correct depth – see here for details.
4. Strawberry plants usually need replacing every 3 to 5 years as yields will drop and plants become susceptible to disease. But the good news is that your strawberry plant will provide new plants for free. When your plant puts out runners (new plants on long stems) pot them up and sever from the parent plant when the roots are growing strongly.
5. If you’re growing a large number of strawberry plants, we can recommend planting through permeable weed control fabric. This significantly reduces weeding and watering and makes for a low maintenance strawberry patch.
And finally, if you end up with a few mushy strawberries that are slightly past their best, they’re perfect for making strawberry hearts:
Simply puree the strawberries then pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Great for serving alongside ice cream or for eating by themselves on a hot day.