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Sweet, succulent, sun-ripened strawberries fresh from the field are one of nature's finest seasonal treats.
Eaten fresh by the handful, blended into juices, jammed into preserves or baked in to pies, these juicy berries also lend themselves to hours of fun in the kitchen.
When strawberry season starts it's easy to find these popular berries in supermarkets, but not always with the fresh from the fields flavour that we want, so why not learn how to grow strawberries at home?
Strawberry plants are easy to care for as well as being perennials, meaning you can harvest a crop each year which makes them a hugely rewarding fruit to grow at home. Just imagine having that sweet crop on your doorstep, year after year!
Here are some top tips to get you started on strawberry growing as well as some of the most important questions answered.
How to Grow Strawberries
1. How do you grow strawberries at home?
Strawberries are extremely easy to grow at home, so don't be distracted by the punnets of large shiny flavourless strawberries the supermarket, have a go at growing your own flavour bombs at home instead!
Stawberry plants are very versatile and can be grown in a variety of containers, on your balcony, rooftop, patio, hanging baskets or even in pots on your doorstep. Just make sure they have plenty of sunshine and water and you'll have happy strawberries.
2. How many strawberries do you get per plant?
Your strawberry harvest will depend on the strawberry plant as well as how well the plant has been nutured and the weather conditions. However, the average yield per plant is 150-400 grams of strawberries.
3. When should strawberries be planted?
Early spring or after temperatures have cooled down in the fall in warm climates. While summer-fruiting varieties should be planted between August and September.
The plants should be spaced about 12 inches apart if planting them in a row.
4. How long does it take for a strawberry plant to produce fruit? & Do strawberries produce fruit the first year?
Strawberries are perennial and so will come back every year, bearing fruit for several years. Although you’ll get some fruit the first year, pinch off flowers and let the plant put its energy into establishing sturdy roots for a healthier plant. In the second year you'll be able to harvest.
5. When should you harvest strawberries?
When berries are red but before they turn dark red and lose their glossiness.
Remember - once they are ripe you'll have competition from wildflife and other strawberry fans, so make sure you get there first.
Fresh Strawberry Recipes
Once you have grown and harvested your first bumper crop of strawberries you'll want to let them shine in the kitchen. Here's a trio of simple recipes that champion those succulent sweet berries:
Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar
This lovely combination of strawberries, watermelon and balsamic vinegar makes simple and healthy dessert in this well balanced recipe. Discover how to make the recipe here.
Try this twist on a traditional savoury Italian dish by turning it sweet with this strawberry lasagna, layered with strawberries with meringue on top, stuffed with a fruity purée. Find the irresistable recipe here.
Strawberry Compote with Meringue
Try this fun recipe for individual portions of strawberry compote with crumbled meringues. Find the fresh summer recipe for strawberry compote with meringue here.