I absolutely love strawberries but hey who doesn’t. I literally don’t know anybody who doesn’t love a good strawberry. Because my family and I love strawberries so much, I decided to start growing them at home. I’ll admit, when I got my first strawberry plant, I didn’t have a clue how to look after it so you can say I learnt on the job.
Initially the strawberries I was getting were misshaped, small and not very tasty but as the plant got stronger and healthier, it began producing beautiful, sweet strawberries. The strawberries I pick from my plant are usually eaten as snacks but I also use them to make strawberry crumbles, strawberries muffins or strawberry cake.
In this post, I am going to discuss a few tips that helped my tiny strawberry plant to grow, flourish and start producing beautiful, delicious strawberries. You can grow strawberries from seeds but I started with a small plant which I bought from Morrisons. A year later, I bought another small strawberry plant from Tesco so my strawberry plants are a combination of 2 varieties which are Elsanta and Sweetheart strawberries.
What Time of Year do Strawberries Grow?
From my experience, the new leaves on my plant start to appear around the beginning of April. The plant begins to flower around May. Around June the petals fall of and strawberries beginning to form. I usually harvest between June and September.
What Happens to the Strawberry Plant During the Winter?
During the winter, the leaves on your strawberry plant will go brown. This doesn’t mean your plant is dead. I see it as the plants resting period. Once spring comes in, the new leaves will start to appear and as more green leaves grow then I start to remove the brown leaves.
Tips for Growing Strawberries!
Water Strawberry Plants Regularly
To grow healthy strawberries, it is important that your strawberry plant is watered regularly. To be honest I have no set time and I go by how my soil feels but you don’t ever want your soil to become dry. When we go through rainy periods, I won’t water the plant at all but will water daily or every other day on hot dry days. Just keep an eye on your soil and go by how it feels.
Ensure your Strawberry Plants get Plenty of Light
Place your strawberry plant in an area with plenty of sunlight. I’m lucky to have a South facing garden so I get plenty of light in. I have no trees so the plants get full exposure to sunlight.
Remove Dead Leaves
When growing strawberries, it is important to remove leaves that go brown and crispy. You want all the nutrients from the soil to go to the healthy plants so remove any dead leaves.
When I first bought the strawberry plant, it was tiny with a few leaves and in a small pot. I left it in the small pot until the plant became larger then I repotted the plant into a large rectangle pot with holes for drainage. Bear in mind you can use a very large pot if you want as the plant will spread and fill the gaps.
Feed your Strawberry Plant
To feed my strawberry plant, I use tomato feed. Before I started using tomato feed my plants were doing ok but not great but once I started using tomato feed, the plants definitely began to flourish. The plants now looks healthier and feel stronger. The leaves are very green and the plants now produce healthier strawberries.
Tomato feed is a liquid fertiliser that contains nutrients important for growing healthy fruit and vegetables. It contains elements such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) which are all important for healthy growth.
How Often to Feed
Between May and September, I feed my strawberry plants every 4 weeks. During the winter months I don’t feed the plants as they stop producing fruit and go into a dormant state.
Make your Garden Bee Friendly
It is very important that you get visits from bees. Bees are important for growing healthy strawberries as they pollenate the flowers which become strawberries. If your strawberries are not pollinated then you will end up with misshaped strawberries that do not look too happy. Usually when you first buy a strawberry plant, you may find the first set of strawberries are not so healthy looking especially if you bought it inside a store. This is because the plant has been inside so bees had no access to it. If you buy your plant from an outside garden centre then the first set should be okay. You can attract bees by having plants such as lavendar in your garden. Read this article on how to make your garden bee friendly.
Deal with Pests
Personally, I haven’t had much problems with pest. Occasionally, I have seen birds trying to eat the strawberries but that about it. Slugs can be a pain when growing strawberries as well as certain bugs. If you find pests to be a problem then read this article on Organic Pest Control which I found very informative and useful.
You can find lots of advice regarding strawberry growing online and they are all very helpful but I found I had to learn how to care for my strawberry plants by learning on the job. Check your strawberry plants daily and use my tips to try and identify any problems that may stop your plants from flourishing. The longer you care for your strawberry plants, the better you will become at identifying any problems and caring for them properly. Practice makes perfect!