I am really looking forward to the strawberry season which will start in June. The best part of growing your own strawberries is wandering in the garden and picking and eating the fruits on the spot. And they taste so much better than the fruits which you can buy from the supermarkets.
Strawberries are not that difficult to grow even for a gardening novice like me. I have a small patch where I cultivate the following varieties: Honeye and Cambridge Favourite, the latter one being my favourite variety indeed.
I have been a bit disappointed with the honeye variety which turned out to be not so sweet. One reason for this could be the origin of my plants which I bought from a local village fair as bare rooted home grown specimens.
I have also tried and enjoyed the following varieties: Royal sovereign strawberries (a popular well tried variety) and Gariguette (French variety).
My tips on how to grow strawberries
I planted my plants a couple of years ago and there are only a few tasks which I carry out each year in order to get a good harvest of strawberries:
1. Weeding in early spring:
This is important since the weeds will take out some of the nutrients which the plant will need to grow big juicy fruits. I also take this opportunity to remove any dead leaves following winter.
2. Feeding in spring:
A sprinkling of sulphate of potash around the area followed by a good watering helps maintain vigorous plants. I also use the sulphate of potash for my apple and cherry tree and this substance can allegedly be used as part of organic growing.
3. Straw protection:
A layer of dry straw at the base of the plants helps keep the fruits off the ground and prevents rotting which is particularly important if it is raining a lot.
4. Protect from the pests:
I have to remember every year to put a net around my strawberry patch to prevent the black birds from having a fiest at my expense. Otherwise I end up with nibbled fruits. Luckily I don’t have any problem with slugs but you may need to watch out for them too.
Finally I try to change the plants every 3 years and since I practice crop rotation, I intend to find a new spot for the new strawberry plants in my English garden. You can also grow strawberries in special terracotta strawberry pots with the additional benefit that it looks good on your patio.