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Published 3 March 2017
Growing strawberries is simple as they are suitable for a wide range of garden soils and conditions, or even hanging baskets. This simple how-to guide covers everything you’d need to know about growing this delicious soft fruit in your own garden, with advice on planting, watering, fertiliser and straw.
Growing strawberries is simple, they only need some sun, some shelter, and fertile, well-drained soil. Why not try our special set of 20 x Strawberry Summer Runners to get you started?
Everybody loves strawberries and there's never been a better time to grow your own. They're fast-growing, last several years and can be planted in soil, planters, bags, baskets, gardens, greenhouses, balconies… practically anywhere.
Supermarket strawberries can be very expensive, but they're so easy to grow at home you don't need to shell out to get this delicious summer treat. Perfect for picnics, Wimbledon and Eton Mess dessert, all fresh from your own garden. The same strawberry plants will product fruit for up to four seasons before they need replacing.
If you have plenty of space, or you're planning on a strawberry feast, growing rows of early, mid and late season strawberries will maximise your crops, but otherwise strawberries are best planted in the Spring or Autumn. They'll keep producing fruit for up to four years, but rotating your crop is best to prevent bugs and disease from spreading.
The pretty white springs flowers turn into delicious strawberries. Pick as early in the morning as you can as the fruit is the most juicy.
Pick the strawberries carefully, complete with their stalks and green calyxes - don't tug them off the plant – and handle them with care so that they don't bruise. It's best to check for berries to pick daily.
Pick strawberries when they've turned bright red all over. Eat as soon as possible as they go bad quickly once off the vine.
Strawberries grow quickly in the sun, but they like a little bit of shade, too. Strawberries can be grown in a wide range of soils, from light sand to heavy clay.
They can also be grown in hanging baskets to keep them off the ground.
As the fruit starts to grow, tuck some straw underneath the berries to prevent them from rotting from the damp earth. Straw (or special matting) will also help to stop weeds.
Strawberries in containers can also be grown in an unheated greenhouse, which makes them come to fruition about 10–14 days early. In a heated greenhouse or conservatory, you can bring forward flowering by several weeks, just keep the temperature under 16°C (61°F). You may need to hand-pollinate the flowers in this case as the insects won't be ready yet.
As soon as the flowers finish, the first tiny green strawberries fruitlets start appearing. At this stage weed thoroughly, then sprinkle slug pellets.
After cropping has finished, remove the old leaves from summer-fruiting strawberries with secateurs or hand shears to about three inches above the ground. This seems very short but it prevents nasty diseases, exposes bugs to be gobbled up by birds and improves soil health. Also remove the straw mulch, fibre mat, or black polythene, to prevent this build-up of pests and diseases.
Water frequently while new plants are establishing. Also water during dry periods in the growing season. Water from the bottom as water from overhead can rot the crown and fruit.
Avoid watering after flowering if possible, since damp conditions will encourage grey mould and rotten fruit. If a dry spell makes watering essential, do it first thing in the morning so that foliage and developing fruit dry off quickly.