A Beginners guide to growing your own strawberries

BG_StrawsStrawberries can be growing easily in containers, as well as in the ground or even in hanging baskets. This makes them a popular home-grown fruit. They also taste delicious when they have been picked straight from the plant, after having been sun-ripened.

 

What equipment do you need?

You don’t need much to start planting and growing your own strawberries, we recommended having the following to hand:

  • Strawberry plants: For a sweet and delicious tasting strawberry that’s easy to grow our Marshmello variety is ideal
  • A trough or planter: We stock a range of VegTrug planters which are perfect if you are limited on gardening space
  • Vegetable growing compost: Westlands gro-sure vegetable growing compost contains the perfect blend of organic matter for strong strawberry plant growth
  • A trowel & watering can – For maintaining and preparing the soil for planting
  • Plant feed – A quality plant feed will encourage healthy growth and a better quality crop, Westland gro-sure tomato feed has a high nutrient formula to achieve this and works great on strawberries too!

 

When and where to plant strawberries

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Strawberries can be planted anytime from autumn to May. They will grow best in sunny conditions, with plenty of shelter and a well-drained soil that is kept moist.

If you are planting your strawberries in winter or when the weather is cold, water only once a day to keep the compost moist without being waterlogged. It is also important to avoid areas of the garden that are prone to frost.

If it’s warm outside water twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening to keep the soil moist.

 

How to plant and grow strawberries

We recommend getting your equipment ready as soon as you receive your plants, ready to prepare the soil for planting.

When your strawberry plants arrive, you will notice they have lots of roots and a stubby stem. This may look unpromising at first however, once the roots contact the soil in your trough, they will establish and encourage healthy growth.

To start growing strawberries follow these instructions:

  1. Fill the trough or planter with Vegetable Growing Compost so that there is a 3cm (1 ½ in) gap from the top of the trough
  2. Create a level surface, smoothing compost down with the back of the trowel
  3. Place the many-rooted strawberry plants at stations 20-25cm (8-10in) apart
  4. Dig small holes in the Vegetable Growing Compost with the trowel so that you can spread out the roots of the strawberry plants
  5. Back-fill the holes and firm plants in with your hands- the roots should be buried and the short stubby green stem proud of the soil
  6. Water generously to maintain moist soil level

Once the stems produce flowers and you notice the centre of the flower is swelling into a fruit (the petals should be wilting at this point) it’s a good idea to feed your strawberry plants to give them the nutrients they need to produce superior fruit.

To feed your strawberry plants simply insert Easy-Feed sticks on both sides of a single strawberry plant. Insert 12cm (5in) away from the main stem and 2cm (1in) below the surface.

 

How to harvest your strawberries

When strawberries have ripened (fully red in appearance) simply cut off by the stem, avoid pulling the fruit when harvesting and place gently in a container or basket to avoid bruising. 

In Year 1 you should get about a punnet’s worth of strawberries from one plant. In Year 2 and 3 this will increase to about double the quantity.

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