Today’s article featuring tips to grow your own strawberries is a guest post written by Geoff Wakeling. Geoff lives in London where he shares his life with hens, cats and a garden where you’ll find him snipping, pruning, planting, cutting, propagating, shoveling, or just plain admiring mother nature. Read on and get prepared to grow your own strawberries next season.
Many people may have the perception that strawberries are best left to fruit growing experts. They seem one of the more exotic foods to be growing, only being available for a small time during the year and normally proving fairly expensive.
However, growing strawberry plants is actually very easy, and though encouraging a good crop is not without its problems, tasting your own grown strawberries will beat any shop bought box.
Planting Strawberry Plants in the Home Garden
Planting strawberries can be done in various manners, utilizing vegetable patches, raised beds, or even pots. For best the results place individual strawberry plants in rows, leaving approximately one foot between each specimen. This allows each plant room to grow, the necessary light to develop fantastic tasting fruit, and the space to easily organize and tidy plants at the end of the season.
Firm each plant into the ground well and remove any dead leaves or small runners which may be coming off on the main plant. It is also a good idea at this stage to add mulch around plants which, when fruit begin to develop, will hold ripening strawberries off of the moist ground and help to prevent rotting. Straw is a great material to use, as are bark chips or shredded wood, all of which allow moisture to trickle through to the roots whilst keeping the leaves and fruit dry.
Caring for the New Strawberry Bed
It is vital that plants are placed in a sunny position to ensure that fruit can develop properly. In temperate regions flowers will start to develop often as early the end of March and beginning of May, sending up their cream white petals to the sun.
As fruit begin to develop ensure that mulch is kept to a minimum depth of an inch so as to keep moisture away from developing fruit. While strawberry fruits are still white they remain fairly hardy, however, as their distinctive red hue starts to develop they will be particularly susceptible to become moldy. At this time they are also an ideal snack for birds and pests such as slugs and snails so preventative steps such as adding netting and pest deterrents must be undertaken.
Multiplying Strawberry Plants by Separating the Runners
After fruiting has finished and the colder temperatures of fall arrive it is the ideal time to separate plants. You will find that as soon as fruiting is over, individuals specimens start to send out runners with new plants on them.
Allow these to root, and in the fall you can simply snip these runners off and create new plants. Individual strawberries will stay productive for approximately four years, at which time it is a good idea to replace them with fresher and younger runners. But with the thriving growth you will never be out of new plants to use.
Growing an ample crop of strawberries is very weather dependent, and there are only so many steps you can take to aid the development of juicy fruit. A sunny position and keeping fruit away from too much moisture is vital so that strawberries can grow to their full potential.
However, the joy of growing this fantastic fruit at home is a great reward, and with a little effort you can have delicious and decadent fruit to smother in cream from your own backyard.
Geoff Wakeling is a writer for Brookside Patio Furniture which offers wicker patio furniture.
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