It is possible to purchase potted strawberries and strawberry plugs in the spring and summer, but of course you will have to pay for the pot, compost and the nurseryman’s time to grow them on. It is often much cheaper to buy bare root plants that have been growing in the field and have been lifted and sold in bunches in autumn and winter. These are usually purchased mail order.
These plants are not only cheap, they are also reliable and will crop in the first summer after planting. When you receive these plants they will be partially dormant and may not have many leaves. Do not be concerned by this. Once planted they will grow away vigorously in the spring, often producing bumper crops.
When choosing varieties from the websites, ensure that you choose a selection of varieties that will crop at different times in the season to produce a summer long supply of delicious fruit.
Choose a sunny, sheltered site for your strawberries. You should give the soil some preparation before planting by adding compost or well rotted manure. Strawberries are also well suited to containers and hanging baskets. For this use a quality multipurpose compost.
Choose a time when the soil is not waterlogged or frozen. Plant the strawberries 45cm (18in) apart with 75cm (2.5ft) between each row. This will give these vigorous plants room to flourish. Spread out the roots and plant them so that the crown of the plant is just above the soil surface. Deeper planting may cause them to rot.
Care after planting
Strawberries will require watering in dry spells throughout the growing season. If planting in containers, a liquid feed will be required every couple of weeks. Remove any runners that are produced from early summer onwards to prevent them weakening the plant’s vigour. Spreading straw around the plants will help to avoid slug and snail damage. Damage by birds can be reduced by placing a net over the plants or growing in a fruit cage.
Remove straw and netting after fruiting to increase air flow around the plants. A spring mulch will be beneficial. You are well advised to replace strawberry plants every few years to avoid a decrease in cropping.
To view strawberry plants at Suttons click here
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