Heavy crops with a fantastic 'Japanese style' gourmet flavour. Gives reliable harvests of good sized fruits, great for pots. Excellent source of vitamin C.
Prepare the soil by digging over, removing any perennial weeds and adding manure.
Place the strawberry plants every 35cm (13 in) in rows that are 75cm (30 in) apart.
Plant with the crown at soil level and water well.
Place a net over the plants to prevent birds and squirrels from eating the fruit.
Pick any ripe strawberries so they don't rot on the plant. Check the plants every other day during the ripening period
Most strawberry plants are cultivated hybrids that won't grow true from seed, however they will if there are species plants such as the alpine varieties or one of the new range of F1 cultivars that are now available.
These seeds can be lightly sown onto a seed tray filled with John Innes ‘seed and potting’ compost. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of compost - no more than 1/4 inch - and gently water in.
Transfer the seed tray to a cold, greenhouse or even a well lit room as both are suitable for germination which should take anywhere between 2 and 8 weeks. Once
Once the strawberry plants have germinated,wait for the 3rd true leaves to transplant into bigger containers. The seedlings can be gently lifted and potted on into 9cm pots using John Innes 'No.1' or 'No.2'. Come the following autumn they should be ready to transplant outside ready for fruiting the following year.
If weather permits, the plants can be planted directly outside in to their final position. For best results choose a well drained, moist and slightly alkaline soil.
Regularly hoe between the rows and individual plants. You might also want to place a net over the strawberries to stop birds and squirrels from eating the fruit.
From late May, place straw in the rows and under the fruit trusses to suppress weeds and prevent the fruit lying on the ground.
Barley straw is the best option, as it's softer and more pliable. If you can't get straw, use polythene sheeting.
It's possible to extend the growing season by placing early strawberry varieties under cloches or polythene covers in late March. Grown in this way, the plants should produce fruit two to three weeks earlier than normal.
How to harvest
It's important to pick any fruit as soon as it's ripe to prevent it rotting on the plant. Check the plants every other day during the ripening period.
The fruit is ready when it has turned red, although different varieties have different shades.
It's best to harvest the fruit in dry weather. Pick gently to avoid bruising and make sure the green stalk (calyx) remains with the fruit.
After harvesting, remove the straw or matting that has been protecting fruit from the ground. Compost straw and debris, or clean and store matting for next year.
Cut off old leaves with hand shears and remove, leaving the crown and new leaves untouched. This allows sunlight into the centre of the plant, ensuring a better crop next year.
Feed and water well.
Leave nets off to allow birds to pick off any pests.
It's simple to make more strawberry plants. The plants send out runners over the surface of the soil during the growing season. These can be pegged down, usually in June or July, while attached to the mother plant. Eventually, they will form a separate plant.
Don't allow more than five runners to develop from each plant. In August, when the runner plants are well established, cut them from the parent and transplant immediately.