Home-grown strawberries are sweet and flavoursome and you can pick just as you need them. Strawberries picked in the warmest part of the day will be at their sweetest. They are very easy to grow and adapt well to growing in containers. They just need a sunny spot with soil which drains well.
New plants are best established in the early autumn or late spring. Plant 35cm apart with the crown of the plant just resting on the soil surface. Water well.
During the flowering and fruiting season strawberries benefit from a high potash feed which can be applied as a liquid (eg. Tomorite) or as a granular fertiliser in early spring (sulphate of potash).
As the plants start to flower spread fresh straw under them. This will keep the fruit off the soil and keep it clean.
You will need to put netting over fruiting strawberries to stop the birds (particularly blackbirds) from getting them first.
Any problems with strawberries occur when a strawberry patch becomes overcrowded, the soil becomes depleted, and degenerative diseases build up in the plants. Following fruiting you must remove any runners the plants produce, ideally before they take root. Keeping on top of weeding is also important; strawberries can be grown through weed suppressant textiles. We recommend a breathable fabric such as Mypex rather than black plastic.
In an ideal situation you would relocate your strawberry patch every three years to avoid soil depletion and a build-up of diseases. This is not always possible but we strongly recommend re- planting with fresh plants every three years. You can pot up runners from your own stock but it is better to buy fresh new plants, that are virus free, to reduce disease build-up.
If you have space it is nice to grow two varieties which crop at different times. We grow Polka and Cambridge Favourite.
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