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GYO Wants Your Advice On Growing Strawberries


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  • GYO Wants Your Advice On Growing Strawberries

    Grow Your Own wants your advice on growing strawberries. What are your top tips for growing strawberries? How do you get a bumper crop? Most importantly what varieties of strawberries do you think taste the best?

    The top posts will be published in the February issue of Grow Your Own. This will be a big plug for The Grapevine so come on lets have all your advice!

  • #2
    My favourite varieties are Marshmello due to its firm juicy well flavoured fruit and Aromel because its a very good everbearer, giving a good crop over a long season.

    To get good crops I plant mine 18" between plants and rows through a quality membrane. The soil underneath is well fed with compost and well rotted manure. After fruiting and towards the end of autumn the plants have all of their leaves cut off to expose the crown and remove any diseased foiliage. This allows the plant to endure vernalisation (a cold snap) which promotes better cropping and also exposes any pests to local wildlife. During the winter and spring wood ash is spread around the plants as the potash again promotes better cropping.

    Unless required for extra plants the runners are removed. A small number are potted into 3" pots until well established and are then transfered to a 25 litre plastic barrel with 3" holes drilled into the sides and filled with compost. This sits outside until the end of January when it is brought into the polytunnel. This brings on strawberries a good month early than the main crop when they are at a premium price wise. After fruiting these 1 year old runners meet the compost bin as they are worn out and the same happens the following year.


    • #3
      My first year of growing strawberries and the advice on the forum was invaluable.
      Seemed awful trimming off all the leaves leaving just the central tuft of leaves but it works, now have strong healthy plants.
      Also didn't realise how easy it was to plant up the runners, again it's given me lots of new strong plants. Hairpins were very useful in pegging the runners into the soil.
      And something I did it out of curiousity and this was to grow strawberries from seed. It seemed they would never get going but they sprung into life in may transforming from seedlings I could barely see into vigorous plants which fruited in August and only stopped fruiting in late October. I think the variety was Temptation from Chase Organics.
      I found that homemade garlic spray got rid of a small outbreak of whitefly.
      But I was never successful in keeping the slugs off, now that's something I'd really like advice on.


      • #4
        Slugs were a major problem for us also, plus the strawberry bed was completely overgrown when we got our plot at the end of September, so we've chosen to transplant our strawberries to another area that had been thoroughly double dug.

        As each individual strawberry plant was dug out we carefully removed the old and discoloured leaves, runners and any weeds that were growing close to it, then replanting the (now bare) crowns into well prepared beds through some weed control fabric that was then mulched with conifer bark mulch (as I believe strawbs like a slightly acidic soil).

        Our hopes are that in planting through the weed control fabric we will not only suffer less weed problems, but also limit the slugs access to the strawberries, making it harder for them to attack the strawbs! We will probably also put some straw down as a mulch when the berries start to form, hopefully preventing any rot of the berries from coming into contact with the ground.

        As to varieties, no idea, we've 2 types, one thats definitely an autumn fruiting (large very sweet and juicy berries) and one that appears to be an earlier fruiting variety, hopefully we will be able to identify them properly next year when we see the new foliage beginning to grow!
        Suzanne (aka Mrs Dobby)

        'Garden naked - get some colour in your cheeks'!

        The Dobby's Pumpkin Patch - an Allotment & Beekeeping blogspot!
        Last updated 16th April - Video intro to our very messy allotment!
        Dobby's Dog's - a Doggy Blog of pics n posts - RIP Bella gone but never forgotten xx
        On Dark Ravens Wing - a pagan blog of musings and experiences


        • #5
          If you try to grow them in a strawberry pot make sure they are out of reach of the Lesser Spotted Strawberry Snaffler AKA Meg the cocker.

          I had two terracotta strawb pots on the side of the fish pond & they grew really well loads of flowers but no fruit.

          Having accused Mrs G, Miss G & Master G of being greedy little sons of milkmen (and them vigourously denying any involvement n the strawb snaffling) I decided to keep a close eye on the one remaing strawb.

          One fine day Meg decides she is going to wander around her estate & do what ever it is Cocker spaniels do and as I looked out of the window pondering life the universe & everything I spotted the little git eat the last strawberry

          You can see she looks guilty can't you ......

          Click image for larger version

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          Never be afraid to try something new.
          Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark.
          A large group of professionals built the Titanic



          • #6
            Strawberries are notorious for picking up viral disease. Either buy virus free plants or propogate runners from the same. Accepting free plants from other sources is a bit if a hit and miss affair and perhaps not the best way to go.

            Remember to let your strawberry plants have a taste of the cold. It is required for them to form flowers and thus fruit in and is called vernalisation.

            Planting strawberries through a membrane keeps weeds down but can act as a haven for slugs. Put plenty of wood ash or grit underneath to help deter them or apply a nematode.

            New varieties such as aromel crop from July through to the frosts and are ecxellent at prolonging the season. Its always worth having some traditional types though to give you a mini glut to use in jam making.

            In ther autumn be ruthless and chop off all of the old leaves to expose the crown, this removes disease and exposes and pests that may be lurking about.

            Have a 4 year rotation. The first year plants are establishing themselves and will crop lightly. Do not take runners from these plants.
            The second and third year plants are your main croppers and again its best to remove any runners to conserve energy for next years fruit.
            The fourth year plants are on the wane and will crop slightly less than the third year plants. As these plants are destined for the compost bin these are the plants to propogate runners from, perhaps 2 or 3 per plant. Once these runners are established plant in a new bed, compost the old plants and feed the soil with compost and manure and use for a different crop. Leave it several years before replanring strawberries there again at least.


            • #7
              Just thought I'd add a little twist to growing strawbs. One fun way of growing strawberries is in a hanging basket. Hanging baskets filled with strawberries not only look good, but allow the fruit to stay well clear of the ground. This means that they're much less likely to suffer from pests and diseases. You can follow this if sowing seed or just plant up with strawberry runners.
              Start by choosing a suitable container. Fill the pot or basket with top quality potting mix. Mix in some slow-release fertiliser, tablets or granular is fine. You may or may not want to add water retaining gel, tis you choice.Water well. When the excess water has drained from the potting mix, sow the seeds onto the surface. Sprinkle a very thin layer of seed raising mix on top and firm down. Water gently with a soft spray.
              After the strawberry seedlings have emerged, begin watering them regularly with half strength soluble fertiliser. When the plants are big enough to handle, transplant the excess and leave a suitable number in the pot.
              Keep feeding the strawberries every two weeks until the plants are thick and bushy.

              Once fruit is obtained try this:

              Slice the tops of the berries off just below the stem. Cut the tips off (about 1/4-inch), so that the berries will sit upright. Next, use a small spoon or a melon ball scoop to hollow out the strawberries, working from their tops, in order to create a cavity in each one. Stuff some chocolate into the cavity of each strawberry and place them upright in a baking dish. Lightly sprinkle the berries with sugar. Roast the berries until soft and the chocolate is melted, about 10 to 12 minutes; remove from oven and eat before anybody else sees them!

              Te audire non possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure


              • #8
                If you are growing strawberries in a polytunnel for earlier fruiting, make sure they go outside in October and only bring them in to the polytunnel in January/February as a bit of cold seems to give a better harvest and taste.
                Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know that so it goes on flying anyway.
                ~ Mary Kay Ash


                • #9
                  Got my first batch of strawberries from runners off my godmother - not too sure on variety but think they could be old fashioned Cambridge Favourite. These did well for a number of years (the original plants and then runners from them in subsequent years as explained above). As I haven't got much space I grown them in a large plastic planter with room for about 12 or 16 round the outside and another 3 in the top, replacing a third of them every year. Not a huge crop but not at all bad. It looks pretty good when they're all in leaf and as the strawberries are off the ground they're not so attractive to slugs etc and are easier to pick / cut back etc. The pot is big enough for watering to be OK and so long as I give them a decent feed they've been fine. Unfortuately a couple of years ago they got wiped out by an attack of the dreaded vine weevil. Had to get rid of all the compost and what was left of the plants. Santitised the planter and started again with another set of runners from the same source. Seem to have been lucky so far (grab wildly at some wood!) and no repeat of the same problem.

                  Some of us live in the past, always talking about back then. Some of us live in the future, always planning what we are going to do. And, then there are those, who neither look behind or ahead, but just enjoy the moment of right now.

                  Which one are you and is it how you want to be?


                  • #10
                    I grow strawberries in hanging baskets as Geordie suggests & do add water-retaining granules so that they don't dry out but there can still be a problem with the baskets overheating. This summer with the blazing sun the strawberries produced a lot of runners at the expense of fruit even though i tried to keep on top of the watering & I have read that this could be due to the excessive heat. I still got some lovely fruit off them though but I don't know what variety they were as I got them as tiny runners just labelled 'strawberry'.Of the ones grown in pots I have another unknown variety which does well in a pot & still has strawberries on it now in late November & one called 'Maxim' which has only ever produced a couple of fruits at a time but is possibly not suited to a pot as it's supposed to be a giant fruit.In the ground I grow another unknown variety which fruits very well & a mini fruited 'Wimbledon' which is very pretty & sweet fruited but really too tiny, you need several fruits for a mouthful!I grow these in my raised veg. bed with no special treatment other than the odd feed with tomato or seaweed feed & mulch with coffee grounds or garden compost.
                    Into every life a little rain must fall.


                    • #11
                      My neighbour has(had)one in a half basket that had a pink flower, that looked good
                      Never be afraid to try something new.
                      Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark.
                      A large group of professionals built the Titanic



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