Monday, 23 March 2015

Strawberries - A Taste of Summer

For me, eating strawberries is all about summer.

 I  don't tend to buy them from the supermarkets at any other time of year because I tend to find that they are bland and have clocked up many delivery miles.

Although strawberries aren't climbing into my shopping basket just yet, despite being on the shelves year long, I thought I'd post about the actual strawberry plant.

So, the strawberry plant.

They are seriously easy to grow, the fruit tastes like a strawberry should (trust me, if you've only ever eaten supermarket strawberries try growing your own, they're amazing!), are great value, and have delivery miles of 10 steps!!

What's not to like?!

Our 6 Strawberry plants

You can easily buy strawberry plants now from many places.  I bought a pack of 6 plants from Aldi the other day for just £2.99.  Yup, just 50p each!!  OK, I was restricted to a choice of one variety (Elsanta), but I'm not complaining at that price for 6 healthy plants.  Of course, you can go to your local garden centre for more choice or even buy over the internet.  Thompson and Morgan have a comprehensive list and details of strawberry plants available.

Given that Mr E & I are limited in space in our front garden yard, I have planted our strawberries in medium size plastic containers.  I then used the vertical space to fasten them to the wooden fence dividing our property from our neighbour.

Our strawberry plants hung using vertical space
Other planting areas might be in a terracotta strawberry pot which do look lovely once the plant is established; hanging baskets and of course a garden bed.  But do remember, strawberries like a warm and sunny position.

The thrifty amongst you will love this next point!!

Once autumn arrives I'll probably have at least 20 extra new plants without spending a dime!  So the strawberries you might feed your grandchildren in years to come could easily have origins in the strawberry plants you plant this summer!!  The only reason to buy any more strawberry plants would be if you fancied trying a different variety.  The plant sends out long stems, called runners, which can be pegged down into the soil and after about a month it will have set down roots.  And a new plant is born!  Even more gorgeous strawberries for next year!  Read here for more details about growing strawberry plants.

So, what's in the name... strawberries??  It's simply due to the fact that as the plants are low growing the fruits can become dirty from the soil and therefore spoil.  To prevent this from happening a layer of straw is traditionally laid around the plant.  Simple!

Nutritionally, strawberries are a very useful addition to the diet being an excellent source of vitamin C (which is a powerful antioxidant) and rich in B-Complex vitamins.  If you're interested in reading more of the nutritional benefits of strawberries have a look here.

I'll be sharing some strawberry recipes with you in the summer months once our plants have produced those lovely little white flowers which are then pollinated and develop into the beautiful red fruit we all know and love.

Are you going to have a go at growing your own strawberries for summer.

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