There is not a fruit that captures the essence of summer better than strawberries. Whether they spill out of strawberry towers, tumble from hanging baskets, troughs and containers or share a spot in the flower or vegetable garden. Planting strawberries in winter means the plants have plenty of time to get established to ensure you get a bumper harvest come summer.
Below we share with you our top 10 tips for getting the tastiest strawberries from your garden.
1. Plant your strawberries early for a bumper harvest!
We know that June seems really early to be thinking about planting strawberries, but the earlier you get them in the more fruit you will get and who doesn’t want more strawberries?!
2. Plant in a sunny area
You will get the best flavour from strawberries that are planted in a sunny spot. We do however recommend when planting to get them into the soil early in the morning or late in the day so plants aren’t exposed to hot sun straight away.
3. Give them some space!
Strawberries like to have room to breathe so give them at least 30cm of depth in the soil and at least 40cm between each row of plants.
4. Don’t drown the strawberries
Strawberries don’t like to be waterlogged. They will rot easily in these conditions so ensure your soil drains well. Planting strawberries in small mounds will help prevent the soil from becoming too damp.
5. Put them in bed
One of the best places you can grow strawberries is in raised beds as you have more control over the environment. You can create the perfect growing conditions by minimising weeds, using Tui strawberry mix and food, and then adding a layer of barley straw to protect from the elements.
6. Pick the flowers
Pick the first flowers that come up on your strawberry plants as this will promote better growth. When you are checking your strawberry plant for flowers, this is a great time to keep an eye out for any bugs or insects too.
When flowers appear, this is the crucial stage where the plant will require the energy to focus on producing healthy fruit. A complete fertiliser high in potash will be the most effective.
8. Remove the runners
Runners are off-shoots of the strawberry plant. These are produced over the summer months and can be rooted and planted. A young strawberry plant will not fruit as well if the runners aren’t removed as they use up too much energy. Runners may however be left on a fully mature plant if you are looking to plant more.
9. Plant a variety
To widen your harvest window, it’s a great idea to have strawberry plants with different fruiting habits. As a general note your harvest period will be longer in warmer climates. The best time to pick your strawberries is just before they ripen. Leaving them too long on the vine will only give pests a greater opportunity to get to them first!
10. Make sure there’s enough to go around!
Everyone loves strawberries so to make sure there are enough for everyone we recommend planting around 5 plants per person. This will ensure you’re getting juicy berries all summer long!