Top tips for strawberries

It’s strawberry time! Strawberries start to fruit after they have flowered and been pollinated which is round about now, at the end of May and on into June. Whether you’re growing established plants or popping some new strawberry plants in the ground for the first time this season, have a read of our top tips below…

  1. Give them a liquid feed now that they’ve started to form flowers and fruits – this will really help them flourish. If you have a shop bought liquid feed, you can use that (tomato feed is fine). Alternatively, mix a handful of wormcast in a watering can and mix well before watering. If you have neither of these, make a nettle feed by soaking some nettles in a bucket of water for 2 days, then use that.
  2. You CAN pick them in their first year – many gardeners will tell you not to pick your strawberries in the first year as you’ll get a better crop in subsequent years. Well, we have never been able to resist those first strawberries, and we’ve never noticed a problem with small crops!
  3. Spots on the leaves? Don’t worry too much about the odd fungal spot here and there. It is quite normal that the older leaves will get a few brown spots, or turn brown and die off. You can pick off affected leaves, and as long as the new foliage in the middle is coming through a nice, vibrant and fresh green the plant should be fine.
  4. Keep slugs at bay – slugs quite enjoy strawberries, so be sure to put down slug traps and keep your plot as free as you can from slug hiding places.
  5. Protect ripening strawberries from birds – pop a net over the top of your strawberry patch when the berries start to ripen.
  6. Misshapen strawberries are the result of poor pollination – try to encourage bees and other pollinators by popping some vibrant flowers in pots near your strawberry patch.
  7. Keep ripening strawberries off soggy soil – pop some straw down to prevent the strawberries from touching the soil beneath them as the sogginess will cause them to rot. It shouldn’t be such a big problem at the moment with the dry weather, but the soil will still be wet after you water them, so better to do this anyway.
  8. Save strawberry runners – after they finish fruiting the strawberry runners. You can plant these in small pots or straight into the strawberry bed and get an even bigger crop the following year. If you don’t have enough space, cut them off. We’ll go into that in more detail in a few weeks!