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Growing Tip No. 14

‘Planting Vegetable Plants at the right time for your area is crucial.  Make sure you check for the last frost date and watch the weather carefully before planting."

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Growing Strawberries

Planting Outdoors

Strawberry plants can be planted outdoors in early Spring. If strawberries are planted later than June, remove the flowers in the first year to ensure their energy is used to develop a healthy plant in its second year. Strawberry plants can keep producing fruits for five or six years.

Strawberries can be grown on a wide range of soils, from light sand to heavy clay. However, water logging will cause the fruits to become diseased and the plant to rot. They like well-drained soil that is rich in humus, so dig in lots of compost or manure. They prefer to be planted in full sun, and sheltered from the wind. Prepare the soil before planting strawberries. Dig the soil, remove weeds by hand and add manure working it in about 12" deep. Plant strawberries 1 foot apart within the row, with rows being 2 feet apart. The crown needs to be at soil level and covering the crown or growing point will kill the plant. Water in well after planting. You can use Sluggo or put down crushed eggshells or diatomaceous earth to prevent slugs.

General Maintenance

Regularly hoe between rows and individual plants. Place a net over the strawberries to prevent birds and squirrels from eating the fruits. From late May, place straw in the rows and under the fruit trusses to stop the fruit touching the ground and to suppress weeds. Hay straw is the best type to use because it is does not have weed seeds. If you can't get hold of any straw, use black plastic sheeting.

After harvesting, remove old leaves with hand shears. Leave the crown and new leaves untouched to allow sunlight into the center of the plant, ensuring a better crop next year. Also remove the straw after harvesting.

Planting in a Hanging Basket or Container

Growing strawberries in a hanging basket or container keeps them out of the way from slugs. Hang the basket near the kitchen window to ensure a plentiful supply of delicious, fresh fruit. Plant five to six plants in a hanging basket in spring.

Water Each Day During The Growing Season

From flowering until harvest, feed every ten days with a good organic fertilizer when you plant, to feed for about 6 weeks.

The same strawberry plants in the hanging basket will produce fruit the following year. However, crops will be better if the plants are renewed each year.

Harvesting and Storing

Check plants every other day during the ripening period. Pick ripe fruit to ensure it does not rot on the plant.