Why You Should Grow Strawberries in Your Garden
Strawberry plants can be purchased at local garden centres and nurseries
They take up very little space, they are easy to grow and are packed with goodness, who wouldn't want to grow strawberries at home in their garden?
I planted my first lot of strawberry plants a couple of years ago and, since then, have enjoyed plenty of strawberries throughout the summer and even into autumn. My five little strawberry plants were prodigiously full of berries that we enjoyed in fruit salad for breakfast and a garden salad in the evenings. And that's only from five little plants. Now I am adding even more strawberry plants that will hang above the vegetable garden to provide even more fresh berries.
Strawberry plants are easy to grow
I cannot believe how easy it is to grow strawberry plants. I potted mine in a strawberry pot that has holes for up to eight individual plants and lets them hang over the sides to produce pretty flowers and then berries. I did water them well twice a week during the hottest days of summer and fed them fruit & vegetable fertilizer once a month. Other than picking off a few dead leaves now and again, I did nothing else, and they flourished.
The Right Conditions
I wasn't sure how successful it would be to grow strawberries in my garden, but after two years I am going to be planting more. Strawberries require very little care and maintenance other than the following:
The best time to establish strawberry seedlings is during the cooler months of the year before the summer heat and winter freeze. You can plant them before then if you put them in a frame where they will be protected from the elements, but keep in mind that the plants require at least 6 hours of sunshine per day.
Don't bother with the stories that you can grow strawberries from strawberry seeds, like most else on social media these days, you will only end up waiting forever for them to grow only to have a lacklustre crop - if any. Seedlings purchased from a nursery or garden centre are disease-resistant and it won't be long before they start producing fruits.
When purchasing strawberry seedlings at a nursery or garden centre, look for plants that already have a few flowers and sturdy growth.
Plant strawberry seedlings in a strawberry pot or in hanging baskets and plant them loosely in the top layer of soil. They don't like to be too deep but don't want their roots to get dry. I scooped out a handful of soil and popped the strawberry seedlings into this. If you plant them directly in the ground, you need to watch out for snails and slugs as they love to feast on strawberry plants.
One of the quickest ways to set up a strawberry pot is to use an old laundry basket. Wrap the inside with burlap or hessian, fill with a rich soil mixture and simply cut an opening to plant the strawberry seedlings. As they grow, the fruits will hang down the side of the basket.
Copy and paste the link to view a YouTube tutorial on setting up a strawberry planter using a laundry basket: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2QcU0wYuac
Strawberries grow best in compost-rich soil that drains well. I have been informed that they prefer slightly acidic soil, but this was not the case with my strawberries. I combined seedling mix and compost in the strawberry pot and they have done exceedingly well for the past two years. When the plants started to bear lots of fruit, I added fruit & vegetable fertilizer pellets to the soil.
During the hotter months of the year, water well at least twice a week, preferably early morning or late evening.
Strawberries are Healthy
Strawberries are little red dynamos packed with healthy nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and are proven to reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. Being packed with vitamins, strawberries are one of the best fruits for all-round health and are also a good source of potassium, manganese and vitamin C. Did you know that a handful of strawberries provide more vitamin C than a single orange? And who doesn't love the combination of strawberries and cream or chocolate-dipped strawberries <3