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Cut, Sew and Grow Strawberries

Forcing Strawberries in a Polytunnel.

Strawberries are the home gardeners best friend, from one plant, a life time supply can be grown… this is done by cutting and replanting the runners. Runners are little branches the strawberry plant grows to keep expanding, it is best to cut these off as the plant only has so much energy and the larger it gets, he more energy it needs to use resulting in less fruits. You can replant the runners into a container, and a new plant will grow. Only ever use runners from healthy, disease free plants.

If this year planting too many was an issue, do not worry…forcing strawberries for an earlier harvest Is an easy way to enjoy juicy red fruits before the natural harvest. This can easily be done with a polytunnel, covering and warming the plant encourages it to grow faster, this is because they have been outside all winter and a waiting for the warmth of spring to help them harvest.

Once flowering starts, it's time to begin feeding; apply a liquid tomato fertilizer weekly. Plenty of sun and heat is instrumental in developing the intensity of flavour. Forced strawberry plants will be tired after the effort of starting so early, so shouldn't be used for forcing next year. The usual advice is to discard forced plants, but it would be a hard-hearted gardener who didn't give forced strawberries the chance to grow on and fruit again next year. If you do decide to keep them, you'll need to either repot your strawberries into a larger container or, if you have the room, replant them in the ground.

If you have enough space in your garden it's worth choosing an even spread of early, mid and late varieties, as well as setting aside some runners of your earlies for forcing. This way you'll have the longest possible season for fresh eating and will avoid having to deal with gluts.

Crocodile Trading supply a wide range of polytunnels and accessories suitable for starting off fruit, vegetables and plants. Head over to our site for more information: www.crocodiletrading.co.uk

strawberries in polytunnel
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