How to grow strawberries in pots rather than the soil

 How to grow strawberries in pots rather than the soil

The joys of growing your own fruit and veg are well documented, but few of us need persuading of the merits of home-grown strawberries (such is their intense flavour when contrasted to the fruit we buy in the supermarket).

It’s not all plain sailing though, because every man and beast loves a strawberry, including slugs, pigeons, mice and my labrador. So, if you’ve taken all this into account, how should you be growing strawberries?

How to grow strawberries

I reckon the easiest way to grow strawberries is in pots or containers, as it’s more straightforward to protect them. An 80cm plastic trough from Homebase will cost less than £10 and will adequately house four strawberry plants.

Strawberry plants need a lot of water during the summer when the weather is warm and the plants are actively growing; roots do not like to dry out and it also helps to swell the fruit. But be more cautious during the autumn and winter and when watering young plants – in cold conditions with poor light levels, plants are not processing water and can easily rot.

When growing strawberries in a container, the fruit tends to hang over the sides which means fewer issues with rotting fruit and uneven ripening, thanks to the better air flow. And if your trough is positioned on a table then the care and harvesting are a very civilised affair. Garden centres and nurseries have a good range of young plants in different varieties to choose from at this time of year.

When it comes to planting, use a peat-free compost but do not completely fill the trough, and allow a few centimetres gap at the top to allow for effective, frequent watering during the summer. Some young strawberry plants can have very congested roots so take some time to gently tease out those tangled roots before planting; this helps a great deal when it comes to establishment.

Place your strawberry pot in a sunny spot to get the best results and feed weekly with a seaweed fertiliser such as Maxicrop. When the fruits start to form, switch to a liquid tomato fertiliser until you’ve harvested all the fruit. Once harvested, return to a weekly regime of seaweed fertiliser to get the plants into fine form for next year.

This article is kept updated with the latest advice.


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