We all love strawberies – right, whether they are covered in double cream, as a desert, part of a sponge cake centre or even just to eat them straight from the garden, they never fail to deliver. If we could manage to grow and cultivate our own strawberry beds that would produce wonderful, delicious, succulent, rich, organic and great tasting strawberries, then I guess we would love them even more, they would taste that much more sweeter, thats for sure. If we were to have our own strawberry raised beds, we would be very popular, with our family, friends and neighbours, I suspect. This task is not overly difficult, but it is something that is easily achieveable with a little work and attention to detail. Once we have the raised bed frames in place we are half-way there, what we need now is a good fertile bed of soil, that contain all the nutrients and nourishment required to produce a crop of wholesome sweet strawberries. Preperation is key and once we give these requirements serious attention, that will pay us back generously at the productive end of this project.
We need to give this task a great deal of attention, as strawberries are a high energy demanding plant and will require good fertile soil enriched with organic granular fertiliser, leaf mulch, compost and moss peat. Farmyard manure is abundant in all of these essentials and if we have some at our disposal, we will save a lot on time and expense. This is now available at all good garden centres or we could also obtain this from our neighbouring farmers, who would be only to happy to give it away for free. Once we have that task complete, we are now ready to begin planting out the strawberries. If we have our own composting quarter in our back garden, that will also do nicely, provided it has been composting for a year or more, at least. That will enrich the quality of the soil and will reduce the acidity of the soil. Years ago gardeners invented the ideal test, to check the quality and texture of a ready to plant soil, which was, if we can stick a finger down through the earth without resistance, then we are ready to go.
Planting-out the strawberries;
After accquiring the strawberry baby plants from your local nursery or garden centre, one little trick I would suggest we do is to have a little container of water, mixed with a light solution of plant feed, ( Miracle Gro ), this is to dip the rootball into before planting and this gives them an extra push when they start to grow and mature. Plant approx 12″ apart in all directions, because when they start to grow in size you don’t want overcrowding as this issue would result in a reduced return in yield. So give them plenty space, plenty reasons to flourish and you will be rewarded with an abundant return.
Strawberry bed maintenance;
Once planted strawberries will begin to produce in approx 60 days, which is not that long to wait in gardening terms. As soon as the berries begin to appear, it won’t be long afterwards before they will ripen and will now start to attract all sorts of pests in the form of birds and slugs mainly, so we need to be vigilant. We can discourage slugs by placing straw between the plants, this rough texture inhibits the slugs from going any further and this will also prevent moisture loss. A net-mesh covering is a great way of preventing all types of birds from taking our berries, the netting is cheap and is available from our hardware store or garden centres. Make a light frame from timber lathes and place the netting over the frame of the bed securely or otherwise the birds will find a way to getting in and feasting on all of our hard work.
Getting professional in the garden;
Strawberry plants that we buy from the nursery are commonly known as ‘Mother Plants’ and more often than not will produce side shoots or runners, ( see image below ) this is natures way of ensuring continuity in the strawberry world. These runners are known as ‘Daughters’ and we can either pinch them off as soon as they appear or let them grow for a little while, during which time they will establish themselves into another plant. As soon as this plant is established we can then cut the ‘umbilical cord’ from the mother plant and we now have another adult plant that will go on to produce plenty more strawberries and some more runners as well.
When the white flowers appear on the plant , we need to pinch these off as well as these will only go on to form a seed head which will take from the plant and will lessen the yield also. These newly established daughter plants can be either allowed to grow and become established adult plants overtime or we can transplant them easily to another place or perhaps give them away to our friends or neighbours. Which ever option we decide on, we need to always give enough growing space to the original plants, as overcrowding will reduce yield. Here’s hoping you have found this article interesting and informative, if you have any comments or any queries, feel free to ask below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Happy gardening and best wishes.
” Gardening simply does not
allow one to be mentally old,
because too many hopes and dreams
are yet to be realized.
— Allan Armitage. “