Friday, 30 May 2014

Strawberries in hanging baskets


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I love Strawberries. So I have a lot of strawberry plants. Last year I'd skip outside with my basket ... reach down to pick a juicy ripe strawberry and let out a scream that would make Miggins next door choke on her spam sandwich, for the strawberry would be hollow, and filled with mini slugs. Eww! SO, this year I dug up the entire patch and split them into hanging baskets. Planting strawberries in baskets is ideal because:

The slugs don't get them * They don't turn mouldy from sitting on damp soil * It will free up space to plant other veg * Makes use of space * ideal for small gardens * Great easy project for gardening newbies * A baby could do it ... well, a toddler perhaps *



Despite having lots of plants,  I didn't collect many strawberries at all
last year, the slugs meanwhile were looking very buff and well fed!



You will need ...  


A wire hanging basket

Make sure the holes on the sides are big enough to fit your roots through. 
As we'll be planting into the sides, as well as the top.

A coconut fibre liner

Get this at any gardening shop / wilkos / or even pound shop!

Compost

Strawberries aren't fussy, any will do.

Optional water storing gel

Although optional, this is very helpful when planting in baskets and
containers as they dry out much quicker.

... and some strawberry plants, obviously.





This is what you do ...


Because it's a wire basket with fibre lining we can plant strawberries in the sides of as well as the top! I managed to plant 4/5 small plants around the sides (spaced out at equal intervals) and 4 in the top. New / small plants are ideal for this as some established plants can have big ole roots. But I still managed with mine though, putting smaller plants in the sides and bigger ones on top. Just don't overcrowd, as they need room to grow.



THE END PRODUCT!


1.

Pop your liner in the basket and fill the bottom third with compost. Next sprinkle with some water retention granules and mix it all up (highly recommend, baskets dry out quickly.)






2. 

Now work out how many plants you can fit around the sides at regular intervals. Then make a small cross into the liner with a clean, sharp knife, just above the soil level (see pic). Make sure it's not too big as the soil will fall out, it just needs to be big enough to feed the roots through. 





3. 

Next dig up the plants you want to use, and carefully loosen the soil from the roots. Then simple feed the roots through the holes, cover with compost and firm down gently! Important: Be careful not to plant them too deep, as the 'crown' of the plant needs to breath. See diagram ...






This diagram is from Strawberryplants.org
very handy site for Strawberry growers.




4. 

Once the side plants are in, pop 3 / 4 plants in the top (depending on size of basket). Don't overcrowd as they need room to grow.  Then give them a good water.  Don't panic if they look a bit dishevelled the next day. Keep them well moist and give them time, as they have had a shock. Some might not make the move, if it's not showing any signs of life after a few days replace it with another plant.






5.

Finally, keep them well watered and feed them during the growing season with a liquid potash feed - such as tomato feed. Once the fruit is ripe your main problem will be the birdies, so make sure you keep them occupied ... here's some tasty treat ideas for the birdies. Failing that, drape a net over them (the baskets not the birds!) 

JM x



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