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How can you get the best from strawberries? Our GYO community is on hand to help

20th April 2020

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Strawberries are a real crowd-pleaser – and if they’re freshly-picked ones, all the more so. As soon as those warm summer months hit, we get a craving for popping nature’s delicious red sweets into our mouths and revelling in the flavour explosion that ensues.

That’s why we asked our followers and GYO network to offer some tips and tricks for getting good strawberry results if it’s your first year growing these tasty fruits. Where is best to grow them? Which varieties come GYO-reader-approved? How do you get extra plants from runners to save money? Do you grow from seed or by young plants? These were some of the questions we hoped to answer.

Here’s what they advised:

Zuzanna Uramek says: “Give them sun, water and nettle fertiliser.”

Geoffrey Orme says: “Apart from protecting them from slugs, protect them from squirrels! Mine were devastated last year, from several pounds the year before to barely a handful picked all summer!”

Nikki Cox says: “Let them produce runners towards the end of their season and clip off when the runners have produced decent roots of their own. Grow on in pots overwinter in a greenhouse or cold frame. I’ve had 20 new strawberry plants off last year’s stock.”

Sarah Richardson says: “The fruit needs to be kept up off the soil - mulch underneath with straw or grow in a container so the fruit trails down. Collect the runners on year two (push the baby plants into a small pot of compost so they’ll root); once they have rooted cut them from the parent plant then chuck it on the compost heap. The fruit becomes smaller as the plant ages. I currently have Elsanta (red fruit), Snow White (white fruit) and Baron Solmacher (alpine variety).”

Ciara Britten says: “Grow them in old wellies as a feature! Can be done in a tiny space to!”

Maud Richards says: “Don’t bother trying to grow them from seed, save time and effort by getting some young plug plants that’ll take lots of the hassle out of getting some yummy fruits. Some people might see this is cheating, but I think it’s just being savvy…”

Janet Avery says: “Wild-type strawberries will take over. Plant them in the first year (preferably be given a few plants from your mum where they’ve already started taking over her garden!), curse the neighbour’s cat that keeps digging them up, despair that they will never take, then next year dig up half of them and donate to friends or colleagues. The following year realise that leaving the veg bed fallow over winter means they’ve taken over again by sending out loads of runners! Repeat ad infinitum…”

This is part of our social media campaign to help #GrowTheCommunity. Follow Grow Your Own magazine on social media to stay up to date with our community of growers: FacebookInstagram and Twitter. For details about subscribing to get the magazine delivered to your door, please visit here.

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