Growing strawberries can be a tiny bit more involved than growing other, more easy to grow fruits and vegetables.
However, do not let that put you off. With some very minor attention to detail at the begining, you can enjoy an abundance of what I think is natures best desert!
A cup full of strawberries will also provide an adult with the reccomended daily dose of vitamin C, and the great thing is, strawberry plants are perennial (they continue growing year after year).
Watch out for Disease
Disease and viruses will usually be your biggest enemy when growing strawberry plants. This is why many gardeners will choose to grow strawberries in containers, rather than in the ground, as they can exercise more control over the growing conditions.
The safest way is to use brand new soil fresh from the bag. Composts and soils that have been previously used, especially for things like tomatoes or potatos, are likely to contain bacteria and viruses that could hamper your growing. This is also true during the growing cycle. If possible, try growing your strawberries away from other plants that could pass on an infection.
Planting & Caring
You can try growing them from seeds, but by far the easiest way is to start them from small plants.
Planting them is simplicity itself. If growing more than one plant, space them about a foot apart. The roots do not go down very deep. Some people have even been known to use drainpipe guttering as a strawberry planter! It’s important however, to plant them in a container that is deep enough to allow you to add additional soil. This is because over the years the strawberry plant’s root system will grow upwards – lifting itself away from the soil, so you will need to top up the soil in order to keep the roots covered.
Each year, the plants will send out runners, that if allowed, will seat themselves into soil and produce additional plants. A great trick I have learned is to start growing strawberries in a single contaier, and sit that container on top of three similar sized containers grouped together. The Strawberry plant will seat new plants into the containers below for the next year and provide a cascading flow of plants.
Watering is essential during the fruit growing stage. well-hydrated plants will produce lush fat fruits. Let the plant dry out and the fruits will shrivel, never to return to their original size.
A Stronger Crop in Year Two
If you remove the flowers in the first year, the plant will focus its energy on growing bigger and stronger rather than on fruit production, giving you a much better yield in year two.
Harvesting & Preserving
When harvesting the fruits, it’s important that you do not wash them until ready to eat.
They will store in the fridge for up to a week and can be frozen, although the resulting thawed fruit will be a little mushy!