Tips for growing strawberry plants

Here are a few tips I’ve worked on and found useful to grow a decent crop of strawberries.

Strawberry plants are easy to grow, but very much like the teenagers of the garden they can get into a right strop and play up, not doing as you expect. Unruly plants will tend to spend their days throwing out runners in order to reproduce. This delays the on set of flowers and makes your fruiting period shorter.

The simply choice is to cut these runners off as soon as you see them. Of course, you could either leave them to find their own rooting ground (if not in a pot) or you could place another pot of soil next to the main pot to lay the runner in, fixing it down with a staple of wire. You can cut the runner off the main plant when you see the roots have taken hold. This is a good way to get fresh new plants for next season.

But really it’s better to try to persuade the plant not to shoot off runners. This means keeping it happy, and in this case it means moist. So how do you do that;

Strawberry plants have very shallow roots, so regular watering from the bottom this time is not the answer, so what is?

Well, how I’ve done it is to cover the top of the soil around the base of the plant with something that retains water. I cut a length of capillary matting, but you could just as easy use foam or even old carpet, cardboard – this depends on how many slugs hang around your garden, you don’t want to attract them. The advantage of the matting is its underside has a coating of plastic with tiny holes that allow water to seep into the soil. Of course used the “correct way” you plant pots sit on the matting and the plastic retains the water for a longer time meaning water regular plants over a longer period. But this is a strawberry time and without that plastic there is a chance your covering will suck up moisture in hot weather rather than hold it. When plants are planted in the ground, the using matting will also take the place of traditional straw 🙂

My own favourite type of strawberry plant is one called ALBION.

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