A step by step guide to winter strawberry planting.🍓
Winter is the time to get those strawberry patches prepped and plant your strawberries. This early? Yip. Strawberry plants thrive in the cool of winter and you are more likely to have a bumper crop come spring/summer.
This is my step by step guide…
1)Pick a sunny area of your garden. Strawberries w-i-l-l grow in shaded areas, but they won’t be as abundant and they won’t be as sweet & tasty.
2)Prepare your soil well. This will be well worth your efforts to invest time in doing so. The healthier your soil, the better your strawberries will be. Add plenty of compost. Tui have a great Tui Compost if you don’t have access to any. I add worm vermiculture and plenty of Sheep Pellets by Tui.
3)Mound dirt and cover with polythene or weed mat. This will help:
-to reduce weeds
-help soil drainage
-keep strawberries clean off the soil
-help air circulation
-provide a little bit of protection from frosts if you are in a frost prone area like us (you may like to use frost cloth also)
-to make walkways for collecting all those strawberries!
4)Slit holes in polythene/weed mat allowing 15cm between holes. (Ask at your local garden centre for advice on which product is best – using products too thick may result in root damage when the temperature warms).
5)Gently dig a hole deep enough to stand plant into, without having to bend the roots and plant leaving crown of plant just above the surface.
6)Strawberries need regular food and water, especially once fruiting starts. Be sure to water regularly. Applying Tui Strawberry Food will provide strawberry plants with beneficial nutrients to help bump production. I like Tui Organic Seaweed Tonic also, to help the strawberry plants be in optimum health in order to strengthen them against potential problems.
7)If you like, you could pick the first flowers off until approximately late August so that the energy and growth goes into establishing a healthy plant. After that, leave them and fruiting will develop giving you yummy strawberries in time for Christmas.
8)Runners develop off the plant and can be snipped off and planted for the future.
*1 strawberry plant will provide 25-50 or so strawberries in a season. Aim to plant 5-6 plants per person for plenty of strawberries to enjoy. (If you can’t manage this, some is better than none, as nothing beats that fresh home grown taste).
*You could plant strawberries in pots, buckets (with drainage holes drilled) or hanging baskets.
*You could substitute pea straw in place of polythene/weed mat if you prefer – check at your local garden centre what would be best suited for your climate.
*Two year old strawberry plants often produce more than they do in their first year, however they start to decrease in productivity after this so it’s a great idea to plant out runners to have regular replacements.