Ready for a little fruit in your life? It’s strawberry time and I couldn’t be more ready.
Strawberries are one fruit that almost anyone can grow whether you have a garden or just a hanging basket. They are great at producing fruit in their first season, making them perfect for kids or adults with short attention spans.
Strawberries want to be in a sunny spot. Makes sense, the more sun ... the sweeter the fruit. They also want to be the star of the show, so make sure to keep them well weeded and away from any competition.
Traditional methods of planting strawberries are in long rows that are at least three feet away from each other so that you can walk in between during harvest time. We now know that you can grow strawberries in almost anything and still get fruit. Score! So add some strawberry plants to your edible hanging baskets as a trailing vine option.
Strawberries have an issue with boundaries. They ignore them. A healthy strawberry plant will send out runners to start other strawberry plants and eventually take over the whole garden. It’s a fruit colonization program. These runners can be chopped off with a shovel or a lawn mower and not physically hurt the parent plant. (Emotionally is another story.)
Put straw under your strawberries. To grow big berries, you need lots of watering. By adding the straw under the plant, it keeps the berries from getting muddy and helps control pests and weeds.
I find that strawberries are great cooked or baked, but my favourite is as a savoury salad. By avoiding adding extra sugar and playing up the tart taste of firm berries, you can impress your dinner guests with something different.
I add alpine strawberry bushes to my planters, pots and hanging baskets. They love to climb over the sides and dangle ... sort of like ivy does. Not only do they look good with little white flowers, they also have tiny little fruit that are great in a salad
There is a whole group of berries that can be grown in any number of spaces including rooftops, balconies and in the garden.
Bush and shrub varieties like currants, gooseberries and blueberries all do very well in insulated planters. Just make sure to protect them from the birds. These berry bushes are particular favourites because of their juicy fruit.
For cane bushes like raspberries and blackberries, be prepared for runners. These plants are notorious at sending tendrils under the ground in every direction spreading throughout the garden. To stop this, make sure to plant a barrier in the ground at least 12 inches deep.
Carson Arthur is an international landscape designer and media personality with a focus on environmentally friendly design and low maintenance outdoor rooms.