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Just a quick note to say many thanks for organising the 'Fruit Tree Favourites' gift for my mother; she was so touched to receive the hand written Christmas Card with my personal message. This is my first attempt at purchasing gifts on-line since leaving the UK. Your service is fantastic - Thank You
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Image of strawberry basket

    How To Grow Strawberries

    Types Of Strawberries

    Strawberries can be broken down into three types: summer-fruiting (Malwina, Rambling Cascade, Royal Sovereign, Snow White), perpetual (also known as ever-bearing or remontant) (Mara de Bois) and the often-overlooked alpine or woodland strawberry (Tumbleberries). Summer-fruiting varieties will yield a large crop in late spring or early summer and may provide a few extra berries throughout the season. Perpetual varieties produce a good-sized crop in the spring and continue to yield berries regularly up until the first frosts. Alpine strawberries crop in a similar pattern to perpetuals, but the fruit is much smaller in size. Most summer varieties produce leaves and fruit on ‘runners’ (long trails of growth that spread out over the surface of the soil) while alpine and perpetual varieties grow in clumps.

    Planting Out

    All strawberries prefer a humus-rich, moisture-retentive soil which should ideally be slightly acidic (pH 6.5–6.8); they also hate waterlogged soil. An open sunny site, sheltered from wind, will produce the highest yields but a spot of shade won’t be too harmful, particularly for woodland varieties.

    The traditional planting times are early spring or mid- to late summer, although they can be planted at most times of the year, except the middle of winter) A strawberry bed will be active for at least three years and possibly up to five, so make sure you choose a site you’re willing to commit to the crop. You don't need a fruit cage. Strawberies are easy to protect with netting or fleece when required.

    Summer and perpetual varieties should be planted 18" (45cm) apart in rows 30" (75cm) apart; alpine varieties can be planted a little closer together, at 12" (30cm) apart in rows 24" (60cm) apart.

    Matted Rows

    Dedicated growers can increase their yield by up to 50 percent by using what are called ‘matted rows’. Choose a variety, such as Malwina, Rambling Cascade, Royal Sovereign or Snow White, that produces runners and peg them down, but don’t cut them off from the parent plant. This produces a solid area of growth spreading about 8" (20cm) either side of the row (runners that grow beyond this point can be cut off). The increased plant coverage also helps keep weeds at bay.

    Cultivation

    Unless the plants are particularly strong, crops planted in late spring should have their flowers removed to stop them fruiting in their first year. This might sound drastic but it will substantially improve your yield in subsequent years.

    Protecting your crop with cloches is the easiest way to extend your cropping season and to increase yields. If you can, divide your crop into three – put a cloche over one third in February, cover another third from April onwards and leave the final group of plants open to the elements. Rotate your system each year so that all the plants get a full season outside. Make sure covered crops get enough ventilation and provide shade on very sunny days to avoid scorched leaves.

    A lighter soil will produce earlier crops, so if you want to spread your season without cloches split your bed in two and work in more organic matter on one side than the other.

    Hand pollination may be necessary in very cold spring weather, when insects are scarce. Simply dab the centre of each flower with a soft paint brush every couple of days. This will disturb and transfer the pollen from the anther to the stigma in the same way that insects naturally would.

    Pot-grown strawberries that have been left in a cool greenhouse all winter should be placed outside, as they only flower after exposure to the cold. However, outdoor pots (already exposed to the elements) should be brought into the greenhouse to encourage them to fruit.

    If you’re using hanging baskets, choose a variety with long runners, such as Rambling Cascade. A good rule of thumb is to grow one plant per 2" (5cm) of pot, so a 8" (20cm) container will hold up to four plants. Our strawberry baskets also has side holes, allowing each basket to take up to 13 plants. Dedicated strawberry pots have planting pockets at different levels, which makes things more straightforward – just grow one plant per hole and two or three on top. Strawberry pots are prone to drying out very quickly, so ensure that they are kept well watered.

    Growing Strawberries from Seed (Sweet Temptation)

    Sow in late February onwards in seed trays or pots and cover with compost just enough to hide the seed, preferably using a fine sieve. Keep moist and in semi-shade. The ideal germination temperature is 65°F (18°C). Transplant seedlings into small pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on before planting out 18" (45 cm) apart in rows 30" (75 cm) apart.

    Caring For Your Strawberries

    Strawberries don’t need much looking after as long as they are watered well after planting, and during dry spells. Also, avoid splashing water on the ripening berries. Weed regularly and remove slugs and snails.

    As the fruit starts to swell, cover the ground underneath with straw to keep the fruit clean and away from damp soil. If you have no straw, bark chippings, fibre mats or coir liner can be used as an alternative.

    After cropping, cut off the old leaves and any runners that you don’t need about 3" (7.5cm) above the crowns, and clear away the straw or fibre mats to discourage pests and diseases.

    Propagation

    Propagating more strawberry plants is straightforward. If you’ve got varieties that produce runners (Malwina, Rambling Cascade, Royal Sovereign, Snow White), simply peg them into the soil or, better still, into small pots of compost in June or July. Leave them for four to six weeks to take root and form a separate plant. Then you can cut them free from the mother plant and move them to their final growing position. Varieties that don’t produce runners (Mara de Bois or Tumbleberries) are propagated by dividing: lift a mature plant and cut it into two or three smaller clumps with at least three shoots each. Pot up or plant out 12" (30cm) apart in rows 24" (60cm) apart.

    Pests and Diseases

    Slugs and snails love strawberries as much as humans do. Use our BioFriend Slug-Banish to keep these pests at bay.

    To keep birds off the fruit, net the plants, pegging down the edges securely to make sure birds don't find their way underneath.

    Insect pests such as vine weevils (or more specifically their larvae) can decimate a strawberry bed in no time. You should treat the bed with nematodes in April or May and again in mid-autumn. Also, it helps to allow wild birds access to the plants when they aren’t cropping.

    Other pests and diseases such as blossom weevil, strawberry seed beetle, mildew and crown rot can damage your crop, but spraying regularly with our BioFriend Plant Defence will keep them at bay and improve the health of the plants. It also contains a high proportion of garlic, which won’t taint the fruit but is a natural fungicide.

    Harvesting

    Pick strawberries when they are bright red all over (when ripe, Snow White strawberries take on a pink blush and the 'seeds' turn red), idealy during the warmest part of the day, as this is when they will taste best. Eat them as soon as possible as they don't keep well, although they can be frozen, or made into strawberry jam.

     


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    Strawberry 'Rambling Cascade' Hanging Basket Kit

    Image of strawberry hanging basket

    A complete kit to produce a hanging basket that will literally drip with strawberries! Runners from the plants can hang down as far as 6 feet (1.8 metres). Self-fertile.
    Available Now
    Supplied as a complete kit consisting of the moss-covered ball-shaped basket pre-filled with our own mixed growing medium and 13 young plants of our fabulous Rambling Cascade Strawberries.

    More information about Strawberry 'Rambling Cascade' Hanging Basket Kit

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    Strawberry Plant 'Rambling Cascade'

    Image of strawberry hanging basket

    Large, bright red strawberries have a real taste-of-old flavour. Runners can be up to 6 feet (1.8 metres) long, making this variety perfect for hanging baskets or training to climb. Self fertile.
    Available Now
    Supplied as good-sized bare-root plants.

    More information about Strawberry Plant 'Rambling Cascade'

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    Strawberry Plant 'Royal Sovereign'

    Image of strawberry royal sovereign

    Dating back to 1892, this really is a heritage strawberry. Medium-sized fruits have a juicy taste of yesteryear that really is special. Self-fertile.
    Available Now
    Supplied as good-sized bare root plants.

    More information about Strawberry Plant 'Royal Sovereign'

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    Strawberry Plant 'Snow White'

    sq new

    Self-fertile. A strawberry with a difference, the fruits are white and less likely to get eaten by the birds! Has a pineapple like flavour with a good yield. A real talking point.
    Available Now
    Supplied as good-sized bare-root plants.

    More information about Strawberry Plant 'Snow White'

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    Strawberry Seed 'Sweet Temptation'

    Image of strawberry basket

    Possibly the cheapest way to establish your own strawberry bed. Produce heavy crops of sweet and juicy fruits on compact plants. Self-fertile.
    Available Now
    Supplied as a packet of approximately 25 seeds.

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    Strawberry Plant 'Malwina'

    sq strawberry malwina 004

    A late-season Strawberry. Deep glossy red fruits have a gorgeous sweet flavour. Withstands rain well and has a good tolerance to disease. Self-fertile.
    Available from approximately mid November 2018
    Supplied as good-sized bare-root plants.

    More information about Strawberry Plant 'Malwina'

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    Strawberry Plant 'Mara des Bois'

    sq new

    Self-fertile. Popular with chefs for it's intense alpine flavour by traditional medium sized fruit. Perpetual, red fruit from July to October. Often seen in France.
    Available from approximately mid November 2018
    Supplied as good-sized bare-root plants.

    More information about Strawberry Plant 'Mara des Bois'