Mmmm, homegrown strawberries! They are arguably one of the biggest treats to harvest from the garden, and very easy to grow. Once established, your strawberry patch will give you years of delicious strawberry crops.
Choose a patch
Your strawberry plants will keep going for about 3 years, and each plant will produce ‘runners’ (basically baby plants growing off the end of a shoot) every autumn too. So, choose an area that you are happy to leave as a dedicated strawberry patch. They’ll need plenty of sunshine, and a spot that is sheltered from strong winds.
A small raised bed is perfect – that way you can largely leave plants to their own devices. The runners will put their roots down, making more plants, and over time your strawberry patch will grow denser and produce more and more strawberries for you.
If you don’t have space for a raised bed, you could use a small crate planter or an old wheelbarrow filled with compost.
Choosing your plants
We sell 3 different varieties, which produce fruits at different stages of the season. Unless you live very far north, we’d recommend growing all 3 varieties for a longer harvesting time. If you are living in the north or in a particularly cold part of the country, choose an early fruiting variety.
You can also extend the cropping time by growing your strawberries in a polytunnel or greenhouse (or make a homemade cloche tunnel for your outdoor bed)
Getting your patch on the go
Plant your strawberries approx 25cm apart making sure you have added plenty of compost or organic matter to the soil.
Keep the plants well watered, and be sure to use a hoe regularly to keep weeds at bay.
When the plants start to form fruits, they are best covered with netting to stop birds, mice and squirrels getting to the ripened fruit before you do!
After they’ve finished fruiting, they will start to put out their runners. Just re-organise them so that the baby plants are kept inside the planter/bed, and cut off any excess shoots that are determined to make a run for it! Those that are within the confines of the bed/planter will be able to put their roots down quite easily and you’ll soon have extra plants growing.
Over the years
Your strawberry plants will keep on producing runners each year, and eventually the original parent plant will die off. By this time your strawberry patch should be really well established and you’ll have an abundance of strawberries from new self-rooted plants each year.
Remember to top up the soil with a mulch of compost or well-rotted manure each autumn to replenish the nutrients in the soil, or apply a liquid feed a couple of times during the fruiting season.