How to Grow Strawberries in the UK
Strawberry beds can usually last up to four years. Plants should be planted into well-drained, fertile soil free from weeds. It is a good idea to move the strawberry patch every 3 years to avoid disease build-up. Strawberries will thrive in a sunny position but will tolerate shade. Strawberries prefer acidic soil, use a soil testing kit if necessary.
Strawberry Planting Tips for Strawberry Beds
Plant in late summer or early or in mid-spring, into moist soil. The tops of the strawberry plants should be at soil level, plant 40cm (16in) apart in the row with 1m (3ft) between the rows
When planting ensure the soil is well fertilised, you can use comfrey pellets in the planting holes will help produces good yields.
Growing strawberries through red mulch can also increase yields by up to 20% and can also produce much larger fruit. See this interesting article from James Wong about growing and storing strawberries.
If you are not using a mulch, protect the fruit from wet soil by using strawberry mats under the fruit as they begin to swell. strawberry mats conserve moisture, suppress weeds and stops soil splashing on the fruit.
Strawberries can be grown in raised beds, hanging baskets or pots the growing techniques are very much the same as above.
Remove flowers from spring-planted strawberries in the first season to encourage their roots to establish.
Growing Strawberries in Containers
Strawberries are easy to grow in containers, pots and hanging baskets. Use a Peat-free multipurpose compost.
Container cultivation avoids the build-up of soil problems, but vine weevil control is often a problem with strawberries in containers.
Protecting Strawberries from Frost and Birds
Cover strawberry plants with netting to stop the birds eating them. Use fruit netting which allows the bees in for pollination but will stop the birds eating your strawberries. If you prefer you could purchase a strawberry cage which is made of aluminium and covered with bird netting. Always remove the nets after harvest to allow birds to feed on remaining pests.
If frost threatens, protect the early flowers overnight with garden fleece.
Feed in the spring then during the growing season feed every 7 to 14 days.
After harvest of the summer, tuck spare into the row to fill in gaps or replace old plants. Remove any unwanted runners
Try to keep the gap between the rows of strawberries clear, this makes it easier for weeding and picking the fruit.
Cut off any old foliage after cropping has finished, cutting to about 10cm (4in) above the crown to allow the new leaves to come through