Growing your own strawberries
Strawberries are one of the nation’s favourite fruits, and they can be grown in the ground, raised beds, containers or hanging baskets. You can buy them as bare root plants, plugs or small potted plants, and each plant will bear fruit for several years. If you choose a mixture of summer-fruiting, perpetual and alpine varieties you can enjoy homegrown strawberries for an extended season.
How to plant bare root strawberries
Bare root strawberry plants are sent to you in their dormant state, ready to plant out either in late autumn or spring. They may look dead on arrival, but don’t worry, they’ll soon burst into life once you’ve planted them in the soil. To do this, dig holes wide enough to fan out the roots and fill them with soil so that the growth point is about an inch under the ground. Water well and apply mulch to help to keep the roots warm and protected. Strawberries don’t like being waterlogged. If your soil is on the soggy side, consider growing them in raised beds. Plant in full sun for the sweetest fruits.
How to care for strawberry plants
For the best strawberry harvests, dig plenty of organic matter into your strawberry bed prior to planting. Once you’ve planted your strawberries, water well and often, particularly during dry spells. Feed regularly with a high potash feed and harvest once the fruits are fully red. Place a protective layer of straw around your plants to protect the developing fruit from slugs and snails. This also helps to prevent rot and damage to the tender fruit as a result of contact with the damp soil. Netting will also help to protect your plants from the birds who love juicy strawberries just as much as we do.
What to do with strawberry plants at the end of the season?
After your strawberry plants have finished fruiting, trim the foliage back to about 7-10 cm, removing unwanted runners. This helps to encourage the plant to send its energy to its roots, ready for next season. A deep mulch protects your plants over the winter. It’s also a good idea to pot up some runners to replace older plants – strawberries tend to tire after the first three years and should be replaced regularly. For more information on growing fruit, make sure you check out our fruit growing guide.