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Growing Strawberries with Capalaba Produce

The weather is warming up, the EKKA has arrived and Spring is just around the corner. It’s a brilliant time to get in the garden and start growing your own edible garden, and we personally think growing your own strawberries are a great place to start!

Strawberries are one of the easiest and most enjoyable fruiting plants to grow in the home garden. They are a fantastic treat and are packed with vitamin C, fibre, and potassium. So prepare your green thumbs and taste buds as we go through growing strawberries with Capalaba Produce.

Strawberries are ground-hugging, herbaceous plants. They grow to about 15cm high and spread into clumps around 50-100cm wide. Their flowers are simple, five-petaled blooms that are pollinated by bees. These white (or occasionally pink) flowers are followed by delicious red fruit and each clump sends out long thin runners (or stems) that can take root and form a new plant.

Varieties

There are many different varieties of strawberries. Come into Capalaba Produce and we can help you select the right strawberry plants for your gardening situation.

Getting started

We have a great selection of potted strawberry plants available at Capalaba Produce. Potted Strawberry plants are the most popular way of beginning your strawberry garden. Strawberries are very versatile and can be grown in pots, containers, hanging baskets as well as garden beds.

Growing Strawberries In pots and containers

When planning strawberries in pots, containers, or hanging baskets, make sure to use a high-quality premium potting mix, we recommend using Searles Premium Potting Mix or Rocky Point Premium Potting Mix. To grow up to three strawberry plants we recommend using a pot that has a 30cm – 40cm growing size. Once your strawberries are planted, make sure to place the pot in a sunny position in the garden. Strawberry fruits trail from the main part of the plant. The Strawberry fruits remain cleaner and are less likely to spoil when grown in containers.

Growing Strawberries in the garden

When planting strawberries in the ground be sure to remove any weeds, lumps of dirt, and clay, and to add compost, animal manure, or blood and bone into the ground. Make sure to position your plants about 30cm apart in a full sun position. Strawberries do best in well-drained soil so make sure to plant them in soil that has been slightly mounded up. Make sure to leave the crown of the plant at the surface of the soil and not buried too deep.

After your strawberries have been planted, be sure to put a layer of straw mulch around the plant to keep the fruit from touching the soil. This will reduce spoilage for an increased harvest.

Care and maintenance

Make sure to water your strawberry plants well, especially as they are establishing. Early morning is the best time to water your plants. Water the soil around the plant and avoid leaving the foliage and fruits wet overnight.

To produce the much-loved juicy strawberry, they need regular fertilising. Being a fruit, strawberries respond extremely well to a high potassium fertiliser, such as Searles Liquid Potash. Fertilise every 2 weeks with the Liquid Potash up until the fruit is set.

Harvesting

Now for the fun part. For the fullest flavour of your homegrown strawberries make sure to pick the berries at the correct level of ripeness. They are best harvested when the fruit is around 75% red. To avoid bruising, the fruit, harvest using garden scissors or small pruners and leave a small bit of the stalk attached.

Make sure to watch your fruit closely while it ripens as it can quickly deteriorate or be eaten by birds and animals that share the garden.

Why not make your own EKKA inspired strawberry Sunday with your harvest of home-grown strawberries

Here’s what you’ll need for this delectable creation:

Ingredients:

  • 4 Wafer Cone cups
  • 4 small scoops of your favorite Vanilla ice cream
  • 250gm of home-grown strawberries
  • 4 generous scoops of Sara Lee Strawberries and Cream ice cream
  • Whipped cream for that perfect finishing touch

Method:

  1. Start by washing and preparing your home-grown Strawberries, ensuring to dice them. Remember to set aside 4 whole strawberries for the dazzling toppings. The magic is in using the best – Queensland strawberries!
  2. Place a small scoop (about 1 tablespoon) of vanilla ice cream at the base of each cone. Feel free to choose your preferred brand.
  3. Carefully layer the diced strawberries into each cone, filling them to the brim.
  4. Now, for the pièce de résistance, add a generous scoop of Sara Lee Strawberries and Cream ice cream to each cone. If you’re up for it, you can even make your own strawberry ice cream from scratch. Traditional Ekka Sundaes feature homemade strawberry ice cream adorned with fresh strawberry chunks. If not, the Sara Lee option works wonderfully.
  5. Elevate your creation by adding a dainty rosette of whipped cream and crown it with a beautiful strawberry.
  6. It’s time to treat yourself! Indulge in the captivating flavors and textures of this exquisite dessert.
Pruning

During the warmer months, strawberry plants send out runners. These runners will develop roots and can be used to propagate new plants. The runners that are closest to the main plant will give you the best results. Cut off the runner that is closest to the parent plant. Remove and discard any other runners that are growing from this ‘number one’ runner. Your new strawberry plant is now ready to plant in a pot or in the garden.

After your strawberry plants have finished fruiting, tidy up the bushes by pruning them down to around 10cm.

After a number of years, your strawberry plants will become less productive and should be replaced with new strawberry plants or runners from Capalaba Produce.

Troubleshooting

Us humans aren’t the only ones who find strawberries delicious. Birds, slugs, snails, and family pets love strawberries. Using bird wire mesh over the plants can be used to protect your plants from these animals. You can repel snails and slugs with pet-safe baits.

Strawberries can be prone to fungal problems. Avoid wetting the foliage late in the day or leaving the foliage wet overnight. We suggest wetting the soil around the plant. Drippers and soaker hoses are great ways to water these plants.

As always if you have any more questions about growing strawberries, make sure to come down and speak to the friendly team at Capalaba Produce.

Happy gardening from Nicholas and the team!

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