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How to get a good Strawberry crop

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Strawberry-mulch-10-x-8 Just as the fruits are forming and ripening on your strawberry plants, there are two essential steps to ensure a good crop of strawberries. 

Strawberries are a delicate fruit, and can be prone to rot or grey mould, particularly if it is wet or they are watered too much, which is an easy mistake to make. Strawberries need to be protected by raising the fruits off the soil, placing a barrier between the fruit and the ground. Often straw, hay or specially designed (and expensive) strawberry mats are used. In the image left I have used Strulch which I really like in the garden generally, and it is very good for the strawberries. It makes a good mulch to protect the strawberries,  retain water and suppress the weeds. It is very light, organic and is just ideal for strawberries. 

Whatever  medium you use, there needs to be a thick protective barrier between the soil and plants. I spread Strulch in a thick layer around the plants to ensure the fruit is off the ground and tucked in nicely. This will also protect the fruit from ants and other ground predators which may have a munch. 

Strawberries-protected-by-net-10-x-8Once you have protected the fruit from the ground you need to  look upwards and consider the birds. If you don't want the birds to tuck into your crop it is essential to net strawberries as soon as they ripen.  In the image below left I have made a simple fruit net using a few bamboo canes with connectors; stretched the net over the canes and pegged it down. I also tie material into the net so the birds don't fly into it.

These steps are important to produce a good crop;  otherwise strawberries are one of the easiest fruit to grow, generally trouble-free and nothing beats the taste of home-grown strawberries freshly picked and warm. Strawberries are suitable for growing in containers, and as with all container grown plants, extra watering is needed.

More about growing strawberries

 I use Strulch all around the garden, I really love it. When I  have cleared the borders of weeds, (or as clear as I can get them,) I mulch all the borders with Strulch which helps to suppress the weeds, keeps in the moisture and breaks down into the soil to add structure.  I try and do this each spring but, like many gardeners, I often run out of time.


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