How to Grow Strawberries
Strawberries are a real rewarding plant to grow in the garden. Their fragrance alone is enough to put you in a good mood and there is no better taste than a freshly picked strawberry, right out in the garden.
They grow by producing long runners which extend out from the parent plant and re-root in the ground. You can grow strawberries directly in the soil, but they are also suited to being grown in hanging baskets or specific strawberry planters.
In the midlands of Ireland they will require protection from early and late frosts so you will need to invest in a fleece or cloche to grow them.
Alternatively, grow them in pots and bring the pots indoors in frosty and cold conditions. If you don't want to be carry planters in and out then you can also grow your strawberries in greenhouses or polytunnels.
There are three types of strawberries to choose from, the early summer fruiting types, the perpetual fruiting types and wild strawberries.
- Early summer varieties will only fruit for about 3 weeks. Varieties include ‘Pegasus’, ‘Elsanta’ & ‘Alice’.
- Perpentual varieties or ‘Everberries’ fruit in mid Summer and continue a fruit right until the first frost. ‘Flamenco’ is a good choice.
- Wild strawberries produce small, sharp tasting fruits and are much more at home in our Irish climate and will grow in shade. However taste wise these do not compare to regular strawberries.
When to Grow Strawberries
Plant out September – November or mid March
You can buy transplants or plug plants of strawberries in early Spring and plant them directly out in the ground in mid March. However best results are achieved when plants are planted in September of the previous year as this gives the plant’s roots a chance to develop. Strawberries are quiet hardy but in severe frost make sure you cover your rows with a fleece.
Where to Grow Strawberries
Sunny location, avoid frost pockets & wind
If you choose to grow your strawberries outdoors in the soil then choose a well sheltered spot, free of frost. In Winter the dormant strawberry plant can survive the cold but as they grow and flower in Spring they become very susceptible to the cold. Plant perpetual verities in March.
How to Plant Strawberries
Fertile, well draining soil. Space 30cm apart & rows 45 cm apart
Prepare soil well before planting, adding well rotted farm yard manure. Ensure all of roots are below soil level but non of the runners are below soil level. Space each plant 30cm (12”) apart and space rows 45cm (18”) apart. Water plants in well.
Care of Strawberries
Keep moist, protect fruits with netting & mulch around base
Strawberries need to be kept moist until they establish a root system. Regular watering is required for the 1st few months after planting.
Keep plants free of weeds, weeding rows every two weeks and mulch up around the base of the plants with either compost, straw or plastic. Using straw is most beneficial as this will keep the fruits up off the ground and help to prevent fruits rotting.
Birds can be a real pest with strawberries, cover your crops using garden netting before fruits develop.