Australia is home to a number of different types of strawberries, the most popular varieties are:
How to care for strawberries
Whilst strawberries can be grown pretty much everywhere in Australia you’ll find most of the big strawberry farms where the air is cooler in Toolangi, Stanthorpe and Tasmania. The best time of year to plant strawberries is in Autumn and early Spring.
To keep your strawberries happy plant them in a sunny spot with moist, well-drained soil. Some experts recommend using straw bedding or manure to help keep the moisture in and the pests out!
Well-draineSoild and slightly acidic.
Keep soil moist. Water the soil, not the leaves.
Weekly with liquid fertiliser to promote leaf growth, strong root development and lots of delicious fruit.
Cover soil or growing medium with organic mulch such as sugarcane or lucerne.
It’s important to keep the fruit off the ground because, if exposed to wet and moist soil for too long, it risks getting fungal diseases such as grey mould or fruit rot.
How to plant strawberries
Strawberries are versatile and can be grown in a number of different ways.
Strawberry plants will bear the best fruit for the first 1-2 years and then grow significantly less fruit for 5-6 years before they ‘run out’ of fruits. This is why many commercial growers replace their strawberry crops every 24 months. A happy and mature strawberry plant will shoot out strawberry runners which will root and grow themselves.
The best way to grow strawberries
While you can purchase strawberry seeds, the easiest way to grow strawberries is to start with seedlings which can be purchased from your local nursery.
Here are 6 ways to grow strawberries.
1. In the ground
Traditionally speaking, growing strawberries in the ground is the way to go. Simply purchase a small plant or two from bunnings or your local hardware and plant 30cm apart in the ground.
2. Raised garden beds
The same tactic as above applies to raised garden beds.
3. Hanging pots
Hanging strawberry planters are a fun and innovative way for households to enjoy strawberry goodness who are short space. Hanging pots generally have great drainage too which your strawberries will enjoy.
4. Terracotta pots
Yes, you can grow strawberries in pots. The contrast of a healthy strawberry bushes green foliage with terracotta pots look great. Just be way with terracotta strawberry pots in the hot Australian climate terracotta can heat up and burn the fruit and leaves.
5. Vertical garden
Another great option for inner-city living is a vertical garden. Like tomatoes, strawberries have strong stems which makes them an ideal candidate for your vertical garden.
Growing strawberries in a PVC pipe is possible and if done properly looks great. There are two main ways to grow strawberries in pipes either cut a couple of round holes in the pipe or cut the pipe in half lengthways and let them spread the whole way along.
How to harvest strawberries
So now you’ve done the hard work you’re probably wondering how long do strawberries take to grow? There are a couple of signs to look out for. Firstly your strawberry plants will start flowering 8-16 weeks after planting and you can expect fruit 4-6 weeks after spotting the first blossom. Unlike many other fruits once picked strawberries won’t further ripen so make sure they’re nice and red and juicy.
Pests that love strawberries
Strawberries aren’t just one of our favourites, little critters love them too! Everything from two-spotted mites to worms, slugs and possums. Not only do these garden pests love strawberry fruit but they also enjoy munching on their lush green leaves.
How to keep birds away from your strawberries
Chances are you won’t be the only one with eyes for delicious juicy fruit. Lie some bird nets across your strawberries to keep the birds out and to maximise your crop. Here's another way to stop birds from eating your fruit without harming them.
Best companion plants for strawberries
Onion and garlic are great companion plants for strawberries as their strong scents keep pests away.
Thyme: makes a great border around strawberries as it deters worms.
Leafy greens: many experts believe that planting lettuce, spinach and strawberries together increases the productivity of all three!
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