Strawberries

The garden strawberry is a favourite with many home growers. If you can keep off the birds and keep away the rodents then you can enjoy growing this delicious fruit at home. Children will love searching for these red berries and more may be eaten out in the garden than actually make it indoors but a good time will be had by all.

Growing Strawberries:

Strawberries can be grown from seed without too much difficulty but most people choose to grow their strawberries from runners or small plants. These can be bought for very little or begged from friends and later in the year you should have plenty of runners of your own coming off the parent plants.

Runners can be planted in early autumn or early spring. They look like grubby pieces of root – don't worry, this is how they are meant to look. They should fruit around 60 days after planting. You can get earlier fruit by growing early under a tunnel cloche or under cover in an unheated polytunnel or greenhouse.

Strawberries like a sunny, sheltered spot with well-drained soil. Be sure to water frequently especially while new plants are becoming established. A mulch such as straw placed beneath plants once fruits start to form will help to suppress weeds and will keep fruit from lying on the earth and rotting.

Strawberries can be grown in pots, grow bags or hanging baskets, or more traditionally in a strawberry patch. Plants will usually be fruitful for around three years, so it is a good idea to practice some rotation and allow new runners to replace older plants.

When strawberry runners begin to form you can pot them in small pots, keeping them attached to the parent plant until they root well. You can of course just leave your strawberry runners to root where they will – but be warned, they do tend to take over the garden if you let them have their way.

If you don't want to pay all your strawberries in taxes to the birds then be sure to net the crop before the fruit ripens or you will not get any fruit for yourself. Make sure that the nets are taut and that the birds can't just sit on top and peck at the fruits through the net. Look out also for slugs and snails.

Thyme is one of the companion plants for strawberries which is said to help them grow more quickly. Strawberries may also be helped by borage.

Why grow strawberries in the garden?

Aside from the pleasure of having your own fresh strawberries in the summer, strawberries can also be excellent for making jam and other condiments. They are one of the exciting summer fruits that can really boost the mood of a home gardener.

Strawberries are also good for planting with spinach, lettuce and other fast growing crops which can be cut back for use before strawberries fruit.

Not only do home grown strawberries save you money and often taste better, they are also better for your health.

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Fragaria x ananassa