Gardening tips for ‘sweet and juicy’ strawberries – how to make sure they ‘thrive’ by summer

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Strawberries are often considered the fruit of summer, and the sweet fruit is easily grown at home for budding gardeners. Sowing strawberry seeds is an ideal activity for children, with the literal fruits of their labor seen quickly and tasting delicious. They are versatile and only need sun, shelter, and fertile, well-drained soil. Gardening experts from BBC Gardeners’ World have shared that these plants can be grown in pots or directly in the ground.

They said, “You can buy strawberries as pot-grown plants at the garden center in the summer, or as mail-order runners in the spring or fall.

“Different varieties of strawberries at different times – there are early, mid-season and late-season varieties.

“If you choose a mix of varieties, you can harvest them over a longer season.”

Alternatively, everbearing, evergreen, or perennial varieties grow intermittently throughout the summer and produce smaller fruits.

They are a good choice for a small garden because they have a long growing season and don’t take up too much space.

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They said, “Grow strawberries in a well-prepared strawberry bed, pot, grow bag, or strawberry planter, in a sheltered spot that gets plenty of sunlight, for sweet, juicy fruit.

“Add plenty of well-rotted horse manure or garden compost to the soil before planting.

“Water the plants well, especially in hot weather, and feed them regularly with a potash-rich feed from early spring.”

Strawberries should be harvested when the fruits are completely red.

Replace plants every three to four years by planting fresh plants or propagating new plants from runners.

Gardeners can purchase strawberry plants from the garden center in late spring and summer to grow them directly in the ground.

Experts have suggested, “Prepare the soil well first by digging in plenty of compost or well-rotted garden manure.

“Next, spread a general high-potash fertilizer on the soil.

“Plant strawberry plants 30 to 45cm apart, in rows 75cm apart, so that their roots are just buried, and firm the soil around them.

“Water well and keep well watered for the first few weeks as they become established.”

Strawberries grow “extremely well” in pots, hanging baskets and planters, according to gardening gurus.

The key is to use a deep pot at least 15cm wide and plant one strawberry per pot.

Experts say: “They thrive in moist but well-drained conditions, so use soil-based compost with a deep layer of gravel or broken pots at the base.

“Encourage flowering and fruit set by feeding a high potash liquid food (such as tomato food) every week or two beginning in early spring.”

Gardeners can also grow strawberries in grow bags.

A grow bag can support six to eight strawberry plants, especially if gardeners place one bag on top of another, with holes cut around the bag, to allow roots to penetrate the full depth.

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