Strawberries are wonderful to grow most of the summer and it's worth it to get those juicy berries.. This is a plant that thrives in a wide range of different soils, such as heavy clay and light sand. You can sow them all the way from June until September in an open area, where the sun can shine on them throughout the entire day. If you are thorough in your garden care efforts, you can expect strawberries to last for good 2-3 years. Here are a few things to consider:
Preparation - before you plant strawberries, make sure you dig over the soil and remove any perennial weeds. Add manure for improved organic results. Place every strawberry plant 35cm apart in rows. The rows themselves should be at least 75cm apart. Water well and consider some protection for your plants, as birds and other pests can quickly eat the fruit.
Hoe regularly - it is a good idea to maintain a regular hoe routine between individual plants and rows.
Consider mulch - as May approaches, you can place straw mulch under fruit trusses. It serves a dual purpose: on one hand it prevents invading weeds from taking hold near the strawberries; on the other hand, straw prevents fruit rotting when lying on the ground. Barley straw is likely the best type of mulch you can use, because of its softness and because it is more pliable.
Grow in baskets - you can grow strawberries in baskets, which is a nice way to protect them from slugs. Five or six plants can easily survive in a single basket, as long as you water every single day during the growing season. In the period between flowering and harvest, you can feed the strawberries with a potassium-enriched product, for example, tomato feed. You can expect the same plants to produce for the next year, although you are better off renewing the crops.
Harvesting - strawberries are prone to rot, so it is vital to pick up any fruit as soon as you think it is ready. This will also reduce the chance of attracting various pests and diseases. During the ripening period, you should check strawberry plants every day to look for red fruits. Different strawberry varieties have different shades of red, but you will know when it is ready. As you pick strawberries, make sure the green stalk remains on the fruit.
After harvesting care - remove the straw mulch when you are done harvesting. You can compost it and use it in other gardening projects. Cut off the leaves and remove them, leaving new leaves. The goal is to let sunlight reach the centre part of the plant, which guarantees better crops next year.
That is all there is to know about strawberries. Be sure you follow the main tips on how to plant and look after strawberries, and you can soon harvest these delicious fruits!