Strawberries

Strawberries were one of the first plants I was given to start in the garden, not long after we moved into our home. I’ve found they are just about the most hardy and reliable plant in the garden, and the only challenge is beating all of the birds and bugs to the fruit.

Strawberry Diary

2021

A couple of moths after moving in, Mandy sent me my first strawberry plant, from her own garden. I planted it in a pot and hoped for the best. I read a lot about caring for strawberries, and how they’d send out runners that could be anchored into the soil to produce new plants, so we enjoyed a few strawberries but mostly let Nature do her thing and create us some new plants.

2022

We grew four plants in total this year. The initial plant from Mandy, plus the three plants that were produced from its runners, which I potted up into a planter.

This year we achieved the first truly bright shiny strawberries bursting with freshness that I have ever seen in my life. Nothing in the supermarket compares to the shine of a strawberry picked at exactly the right moment, I am convinced of it.

2023

Now of my main goals for the garden this year was to produce enough strawberries to make a pot of jam. I had won a metal raised bed on Instagram, and decided to make it my strawberry bed, hoping the strawberry plants would have room to increase inside when they were not confined to a pot. I ordered twenty ‘Elsanta’ strawberry plants from Plants Direct, which worked out to 50p for each plant. They arrived covered in mud and looking scrawny in their bare root form, and I didn’t think they were going to grow particularly well, but they produced amazingly, and I ended up with about 5kg of strawberries and enough jam to last us well over a year.

2024

We are overhauling the strawberry bed. Last year’s jam experiment was fantastic, but the plants have spread incredibly quickly in the deep bed as they grew so fast and beautifully that I couldn’t see the runners that all made a bid for life.

February, Week 1

We have thinned out the strawberry plants, reducing the number by about two thirds. I have kept the 18 strongest plants from various ‘generations’ of strawberry plant that have been in the garden for the last three years. Some older and bigger, some newer and smaller, but all looked healthy and strong.

The other 40+ plants have been put aside. I will put the largest one of them, the grandaddy plant, into a pot of its own. A few are going to live with Ma and the rest will be put outside in case any friend or neighbour would find them useful.

I’ve planted the Strawberries further apart, in a much more regimented placement with plenty of room between the two rows. At the very back of the deep metal bed I am going to plant four asparagus, which are supposed to be a good companion plant to strawberries.