With the Wimbledon mania over and the countless school sports days on the horizon, I find myself devouring strawberries by the dozens. A pot of strawberries and cream in the sun is the iconic summer snack, and even more appealing when they are homegrown in your own garden.

Late summer is the best time to start off a new strawberry bed- so now’s the time to start preparing!

Where is the best location for my strawberry bed?

-Strawberries are one of the easiest fruits to grow- so it’s not very surprising that they will tolerate a wide range of soils! Water logging is your biggest concern regarding qualities of soil, as it may cause the fruits to become diseased. Therefore it’s a good idea to use raised beds if you have very poor draining soils. Polytunnels are also a great place to put your strawberry plants, giving them prime position out of the wind with plenty of sunlight

TOP TIP: Try not to plant your strawberries on a patch previously used by tomatoes and potatoes as the soil may harbour verticillium rot.

Tips for planting

Strawberry plants and runners can be planted outdoors from late June until September, and can be planted inside a polytunnel at an even wider variety of times.

-If you are propagating plants from runners, peg them down into open ground or pots of compost to encourage them to root… and the best time to do this is now! Separate them from the parent plant only once the plantlet has rooted, and hopefully in august your new plants will be ready for a new home

Taking care of your plant

Luckily, looking after your strawberry plant is relatively straight-forward. Although during the warmer summer months, it is worth keeping an eye out for your soil drying out. Make sure to water your plants regularly or alternatively invest in an irrigation kit, the micro drip irrigation kit is especially good for strawberries.

If you have your strawberry plants at the ready and your home grown strawberries are nearly perfect, one thing you really don’t want is pesky birds pinching off with all your best ones! Fruit cages are great investments for this time of year, and will stop your strawberries from “magically” disappearing.