How to grow garden
   
How to Grow Avocados How to Grow Avocados
Learn how to grow Avocados with our easy step by step guide. Read more here.
   
How to grow Strawberries How to grow Strawberries
Learn how to grow your own Strawberries with our step by step guide.
   
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Courgette aka Zucchini are a part of the wider marrow family, fast and easy to grow the are a popular summer crop. Easily stored as can be frozen for use in hearty winter soups and stews.
   
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How to grow Chillies How to grow Chillies
Chillies are a very fussy crop to grow. But if you are like us here at how to grow gardening you will love the pleasure that is obtained by growing your own Chillies. Nothing beats using them in the kitchen fresh from the garden! Or if you are like me and your eyes are bigger than your stomach using them year round from the freezer.
   
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Learn how to grow Verbena with our step by step guide.
   
How to grow Gladioli How to grow Gladioli
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Learn how to grow Onions with our simple step by step guide. The onion is the one of the most widely cultivated and popular plants
   
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Learn how to grow Polyanthus with our simple detailed guide.
   
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More Plants >>

How to grow Strawberries

How to grow Strawberries

Learn how to grow your own Strawberries with our step by step guide.

Growing strawberries is tasty work! Though not a vegetable, the strawberry deserves its place in every vegetable plot, if only to draw the next generation of gardeners into the garden!

Ideally plants should be replaced every three years and this is done without great expense as they are easily propagated from runners. In a large plot, plant three rows, with one row being replaced and one planted each year.

Preparing to grow Strawberries

Strawberries can be grown anywhere. They perform brilliantly in hanging baskets, old guttering or pots and can even be planted directly into a bag of compost for a no-frills approach. Container crops, however, will not last through many seasons.

Performance is best in free-draining soils but in heavier soils they can be planted on mounds or in a sloping area to improve the drainage. Good rich compost or manure should be dug well into the soil before planting. Lime should be avoided as strawberries prefer acidic soils.

Plant selection is important to ensure resistance to pests and diseases. I highly recommend the Incredible Edibles range, whose plants are chosen for flavour and performance in the home garden. Good plant breeding and selection produces plants that perform for local conditions, so it is worth spending money on a local variety rather than overseas-selected hybrids.

Morning sun and good light are desirable rather than hot all-day sun, which can stress plants.

Sowing and planting Strawberries

While some strawberries can be grown from seed, I prefer plants. As long as plant selection is considered and a virus-resistant variety chosen, I see little benefit in growing from seed compared with other plants.

The optimum planting season varies greatly depending on your region. In the warmer central and northern regions, plant from April–June; in cooler regions any time from August–September is ideal.

Plants should be well spaced out (50cm at least) and generous amounts of straw mulch applied at planting will help to protect the shallow roots, retain water and reduce the need for weed management. This also helps to keep fruit clean, lifting it above the soil.

Strawberry Companion Planting

Strawberries will benefit from being planted close to borage, beans, onion and garlic. Strawberries do not like brassicas.

Caring for Strawberries

You can mulch strawberries with newspaper, wood chips, straw, coarse sawdust, fine bark mulches or basically any loose mulch that doesn’t compact. My preference is pea straw, laid regularly and dug in to the soil to assist in aeration before each additional application. Above and below the soil, it helps weed control, moisture retention and aeration. Coffee grounds can also be used as a mulch and plants will benefit from potash, seaweed, and blood and bone. It’s hard to overdo it, so be generous in your feeding. Liquid feed can be applied too, although not during fruiting.

To produce plumper fruit you can remove some flowers before fruit sets so more energy is available for the remaining fruit to develop. Strawberries also produce runners. These are long stems with little plants at intervals. The majority of these should be removed so production will be concentrated on your main crop, but a few should be kept to plant in the following season. To do this, fill a small pot with compost and bury three-quarters into the bed beneath the plantlet. Pin the plantlet to the soil in the pot until its roots take firm hold, at which time it can be removed from the mother plant.

After fruiting, prune old leaves and dispose of remaining old mulch to prevent diseases. Slugs are partial to strawberries so should be discouraged with beer traps and night hunts.

Remember that strawberries are 90 per cent water, so any lapse in watering will affect the plumpness of your harvest.

How to harvest Strawberries

Strawberries may be ready for early harvest from December and will continue to provide through the summer months. They should be picked to be eaten that day. Strawberries don’t last well on the plant, so enjoy the season, harvesting every day or so before birds and bugs claim your rewards.

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