With all of the negativity surrounding much of the way the food we buy is produced, and with consumer prices seemingly on the rise, many of us are turning to growing our own produce. Strawberries are a delightful fruit to grow. They are super-berries packed full of nutritional value. Strawberries are vibrant and pleasing to see and they can be grown in a patch in your garden, a container or a hanging basket. This versatility means that we can all grow strawberries, regardless of the climates in which we live, or whether or not we have a garden. Before, I offer you the simple process of how to grow Strawberries I want you to know why its worth it. Here are some of the benefits of eating these nutritious and tasty fruits:
The Nutritional Benefit of the Strawberry
Strawberries are an excellent source of anti-oxidants helping to protect your body against a number of diseases including certain types of cancer. They also help to lower bad cholesterol aiding in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and strokes. The high level of potassium in Strawberries is great for a happy heart and can help lower blood pressure. These delicious fruit are low-glycemic so can help to regulate blood sugar levels. They also have the ability to improve mood and sleep, due to their part in the production of Serotonin.
Grow Strawberries in Your Garden
Strawberries like the sun. They do not like the wind. If you are planting outdoors, ensure the patch is in a sheltered spot and is exposed to sunlight. If you live in a less sunny climate, you may prefer to grow strawberries in a container. Strawberries are reasonably versatile with regards to the soil they will take to. They are not adverse to heavy clay, or light and sandy earth. However, they dont like being waterlogged. If the soil is swampy, the plants will rot. Bear this in mind. Prepare the soil, before planting by ensuring it is well decomposed with organic material and free from weeds. Approximately an hour before planting, leave the roots of your plant in a bucket of water. This lessens the shock of re-plantation and ensures the roots stay moist. Hence giving the plant the best chance of growing in its new location. Place the plants with space in-between them (approximately 30 inches to the side with 13 inches in between rows). Ensure the crown of the Strawberry plant (just above the roots) is at surface level. After planting, water well. When watering your Strawberry plants ensure you water from the bottom, near to the soil. It doesnt enjoy being soaked top down. Use straw (or something similar) to protect the ground between the plants. It is also a good idea to protect your plants with netting. Birds love these berries as much as we do!
When the first flowers appear on the Strawberry plants, pick these and the plant will grow stronger from the roots. You can leave the next flowering. Your Strawberries will turn from green to a romantic red. Pick them. They can rot quite quickly, if not harvested once grown.
Grow Strawberries in a Container
Growing Strawberries in a container is similar to planting in the ground. Containers are practical for unpredictable climates where the plant may need to be brought inside when there is no sun. Strawberry plants have reasonably shallow roots making them ideal for container gardens. You will need a container with holes in the bottom to help with draining. Line the bottom with broken pots, or stones. This helps the draining process. Fill the container three quarters full with potting mix and, as with planting in a garden, soak the roots of the Strawberry plants for an hour or so before planting. Leave a fair amount of distance between each plant when you position them. Ensure when you fill the container with the remaining soil you do not cover the crown of the plant. It is only the roots that need to be planted. Gently pat the soil around the base of the crown and water well.
Grow Strawberries in a Hanging Basket
Hanging baskets are a lovely way to grow Strawberries. Hanging high keeps the plants away from common garden pests such as slugs and snails. It doesnt prevent the birds, however, so you may still need to use netting to protect your plants. You need to remember that Strawberries like sunny spots and to be kept out of the wind. For a hanging basket, use peaty soil and line the basket with Sphagnum moss. Before planting, water the soil until it begins to drain out. Soak the roots of your plants for an hour before planting. Keep a gap of at least 6 inches between each plant and plant only the roots keeping the crown of the plant on the surface. Water the soil thoroughly after planting.