Cultivating strawberries in the united kingdom
There are few plants as gratifying as the strawberry, which includes large, succulent dessert types, smaller varieties for jam, and the petite yet intensely flavoured alpine strawberries. You can't beat fresh strawberries in the summer, with strawberry picking the highlight of many a childhood.
As one of the most beloved English summer fruits, these delectable berries are incredibly simple to grow, so much so that they can easily overrun your garden if left unchecked.
Selecting the ideal location for strawberries
Strawberry plants need a sunny, sheltered spot and well-drained soil enriched with compost. Before planting, thoroughly weed the area, and consider using plastic or ground cover mulch to minimise future weeding. If planting in the ground, select a different spot from where strawberries have previously been grown to avoid diseases.
Strawberries are highly adaptable and can be grown in pots, hanging baskets, and even vertically if space is limited. By choosing a mix of early, mid, and late-season varieties along with an everbearing, you can enjoy a continuous harvest from June through to September.
The ideal time to plant strawberries is either in autumn or late spring. Ensure the plants are in the ground as soon as you receive them. When planting, the plant's crown should be level with the soil surface. First, dig a hole and then fill it back in to create a shallow mound in the centre. Spread the plant's roots over the mound and cover them with soil, gently pressing down to eliminate air pockets. Water the plants thoroughly. For more basic strawberry-growing tips, consult our guide on cultivating strawberries.
Caring for strawberry plants
During hot, dry spells, keep your strawberry soft fruit plants well-watered. After they have finished fruiting, remove netting and mulch surrounding the plants to promote air circulation and minimise the risk of pest infestation.
Encouraging sweet strawberries to yield more fruit
Once you notice small berries starting to form, apply a tomato fertiliser weekly or biweekly to stimulate fruit production. Remove any excess runners and maintain consistent watering. Depending on the varieties chosen, you can expect to harvest strawberries from June through September / Late summer. In the fall, trim away any diseased or damaged leaves. Consider protecting the plants with straw or fleece during winter in colder regions to promote earlier fruiting the following year.