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Homeschool Garden Club – Strawberries

Home grown strawberries are really easy to grow, fun to learn about growing and we think they are much healthier because you eat them in season, at the point, when they are at their best.

The classic summer fruit season is coming to an end - so why are we learning about strawberries now?

Well, now is the theme to think about strawberries for next year. They are sold cheaper as bare rooted plants at this time of the year. Look around and see where the gaps are in the garden. We can have more strawberries plant for less money and planting them up now will allow them to establish over the winter ready for next spring.

As homeschoolers, we are always looking out for ways of reducing the costs of our education. Also, the first week of September is about the last time you should be planting strawberries this year.

Strawberries are typically grown from either small potted plants or bare-root plants. Bare-roots now (cheaper) in pots in the spring (slightly more expensive). Strawberry plants in the garden centre, sold as potted plants, usually from late spring, are ready for planting straight away. Once, again thank you to my NVQ students working at the local garden centres for the information.

Strawberry plants can be planted any time from autumn to the following May. Although it is not recommended to plant mid-winter planting in wet soil. For best results, plant now, choose sunny, wind-sheltered spots and well-drained soil. I plant them in between the other flowers and vegetables, which seems to stop the birds from finding them before I do. I am going to be planting wild strawberries in the next week or two as part of a swoop with one of our teachers for some of my Mashmello variety.

There are 3 types of strawberries: Summer-fruiting which have large strawberries and a good harvest, Perpetual strawberries that fruit from May in to autumn and wild strawberries which are good for the bees and pollinators.

So, if you are planting either the bare roots or the baby strawberry plants we have some to give away this week, you will need to dig in some well-rotted manure in to the soil and add some slow realise fertiliser. Give the barefooted plants and the baby strawberry plants a good soak for about for aobut 3 to 4 minutes. Then dig a hole bigger enough for the all of the roots. The plant should then sit level with the soil. Firm well in and water well.

When the first flowers appear feed them with tomatoes feed. Follow the instructions carefully on the packet.

Strawberries are ready in early June. Pick the fruit when it is a deep rich red all over.

The strawberries, we have had the most success with here at the Orchard Training Homeschool Garden Club are Marshmello, Malwina and Vibrant. If you can grow all three you will have a supply of strawberries for a much longer season. The Orchard Training Garden Club found last year we had strawberries from June and now at the end of August we are still picking strawberries. This year the sun got them and they suffered in the heat a bit.

One warning though - none of them made it to the kitchen.


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