Edible for the Month of February – Strawberries

The best spot to grow strawberries is in full sun, in soil that drains quite well. Start off by digging the soil over to about spade depth, removing all stones, plant roots and weeds. Apply ample bucketfuls of good quality garden compost and enrich the soil further with bonemeal. Rake the prepared bed level and water lightly the day before planting.

strawberries207

There are 2 ways to grow strawberries:

  1. From healthy runners, removed from growing established plants
  2. Planting new strawberry plants obtainable from your favourite GCA garden centre

Strawberry plants are usually sold individually and are ideal for planting into vegetable or edible gardens. They also make excellent container plants!

‘Strawberry Pots’ are large urn-shaped pots that contain several openings for plants. This is traditionally an excellent way to grow (& harvest) many strawberries from a relatively small area. Alternatively, strawberries are planted in rows in the vegetable garden or can be interspersed throughout edible gardens.

Strawberry plants have a trailing growth habit. They are successfully grown in hanging baskets and the ‘runners’ they produce will ensure your harvest is extended for many additional weeks.

strawberries211

Success with strawberries:

Strawberries should be grown in full sun positions, in healthy soil enriched with compost and phosphates (super-phosphates or bonemeal). Strawberries require moderate watering, so when planting into rows it’s beneficial to mound the plants between furrows which will retain moisture. If you are planting into containers located in full sun positions, we highly recommend incorporating water holding granules to reduce the required watering frequency.

Plant into holes that are twice the size of the plant bag and ensure the planting depth is maintained. Water thoroughly after planting and feed weekly for the first month until the plants are settled.

Growing Tip: Strawberries do not like ‘wet feet’.

Harvest Tip: Ripe strawberries are soon spotted by birds, bugs (& hungry children!). The fruits ripen relatively quickly and it’s worthwhile to scan your harvest daily to ensure you get there first ☺!

Aftercare

Protect against snails and slugs with organic snail bait. As soon as flowering starts they can be given a dose of 3:1:5 SR fertiliser. Good companion plants for strawberries are spring onions, chives, borage, lettuce, French beans and beetroot.

Troubleshooting

  • To prevent ripening fruit from touching the soil and to keep it clean from soil being splashed onto it, you can use a mulch of straw around the plants.
  • Another way to protect the fruit and to keep weeds at bay is to cover the prepared planting areas with weed matting. Cut slits with a sharp knife, through which you can plant.
  • Replace strawberry plants every 3-4 years with fresh stock to prevent a build-up of plant disease.
  • In subtropical areas (like the Lowveld and KZN coast), planting between March and April is best. In temperate areas, the recommended planting time is late winter or spring but almost any time of year is suitable to plant pot-grown plants from a nursery in these areas.

crw_9265

Edible arrangements

For this Valentine’s Day we decided to leave the traditional red roses for another day and create a bouquet of strawberries dipped in chocolate.

This arrangement is easy to put together. Start by melting a bar of lovely dark chocolate (2-3 minutes in a microwave, stirring every minute. Make sure it doesn’t over-heat). Dip one side of each strawberry, or cover the entire berry, and skewer each one on a wooden stick. Allow the chocolate to set. Treat the skewers as stems and arrange the strawberries as you would a posy, either tied together with a red ribbon or arranged in a pretty glass vase. Complete the look with coloured cellophane or tissue paper.

Red strawberries and chocolate – guaranteed to put a smile on a loved one’s face.

crw_9272

 

For more information on bringing Life to your Garden, visit our website www.lifeisagarden.co.za or join the conversation on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/lifeisagardensa.

find your
dream home

looking for an
affordable
apartment

List your Property

It's easy in only three
simple steps...

find professional
services in
your area

Locate a business
operating in
your area

List your Business

Want more customers? They're online right now, searching for businesses like yours. Place your ad now...

Latest News

COMMENTS

Top
Recommended Story x
GARDENING: Healthy Herb for March

Thanx for your referral. We have no doubt your friends will love our newsletter as much as you!

Don't forget to verify your email.

to our FREE newsletter
SUBSCRIBE to our FREE newsletter.




SELECT your titles:

South Coast Sun
Southlands Sun


Your details:


Your friends:

I didn't sign up for this
I'd like to see and read more... (Please indicate in comments section below)
I'm relocating (Please indicate where to)
Other