How to Grow Strawberry Plants with Jam Recipes
Growing Strawberries in Pots
How To Grow Strawberries
You can grow strawberries in a small garden very easily if you use Containers or a Hanging Basket. You can then make Strawberry Jam and Tart Recipes.
I explain here how to grow and look after the strawberries so you will get a great harvest. I also give step by step instructions for these strawberry recipes too.
Strawberry Jam and Tart Recipes
When planting strawberries for the first time it is best to buy them from garden centres or stores. These main plants will flower and produce fruit for three to four years in the same plot or container .
You will also be able to harvest new plants from the runners that are produced every year.
Strawberry Growing - Summer Fruiters and Perpetuals
There are a few different groups of strawberries but the two main ones are Summer Fruiters and Perpetuals. The Summer fruiting varieties give you one crop in the summer and the fruit is larger.
The Perpetual strawberries will give you fruit all through the summer and into early autumn.
I Planted the Summer Fruiting Variety Here
Strawberries can be grown straight into the ground or in containers such as pots, boxes, garden bags or hanging baskets. I show you how to plant and grow strawberries in a small garden or container. I will also explain with step by step instructions.how to collect and plant runners.
Where in the Garden to Grow Strawberries
In a small garden your space is limited but you do need to prepare a growing area that will get sunlight for at least seven hours a day and is sheltered from severe wind.
If growing in the ground do not plant where you have had potatoes or tomatoes growing in the past two years.
Strawberry Growing in Containers
If possible make a raised bed with the soil loose and well drained. If you have a very small garden you can plant in boxes, bags or hanging baskets. That way you will be saving space in the sunniest parts of the garden for other fruit and vegetables.
You can move the containers around during their growing season so they catch the sun and are protected from the wind.
When to Plant Strawberries
You can plant them in late summer or early autumn for the next years crop. But the stores and garden centres here do not stock them then. The best time is in the spring which is March and April here in Ireland.
If there is still frost at night and the ground is bitterly cold then wait a few weeks till it has warmed up. On the day you choose to plant the strawberry plants leave it until the evening if you can.
How to Plant Strawberries
The roots on these plants are very large and hard so will need a good hole dug for each.
Once the hole is large enough add some fresh compost to each.
Place the plant in the middle and stretch the roots over the fresh compost you have just added and around the hole.
Do not Bend the Roots if they do not fit
Take the plant out and make a bigger hole.
Cover with soil and press the soil down around each plant. Do not cover the crown of the plant or it will rot. But make sure the crown has some soil around the edge of it or it will dry out and die.
Give the plant a good watering. Place each plant about sixteen inches apart, in rows of about two inches apart.
How to Look After Your Strawberry Plants
- They will start to grow once the roots have established themselves.
- Keep them watered and remove any weeds that appear around them.
- After a few weeks the plants will produce runners.
- These will be small baby plants and be attached to the mother plant by a long stem.
- These can be cut off if not needed or fixed to give you new plants for next year.
How to Cultivate Strawberry Runners
Strawberry plants only bear fruit for about five to six years. If you cultivate the runners from these plants you can have an everlasting supply of fresh plants.
You can Produce New Plants without any Additional Cost
- Pick out a runner and look at the baby plants on them.
- Pick out just one that has the best root system and is the strongest.
- If the others are after this one then cut them away.
- If the others are before this one then leave alone for now.
- Place the preferred baby plant either in a small pot with compost or in the ground of your strawberry plot.
- If your plants are growing in a container then it is best to use a pot for the runner.
- Cover the baby plant with soil up to the roots.
- Get a thin wire and bend over the runner so that it is held down in the soil.
- Water and leave for a few weeks.
Growing Strawberries in a Pot
- You will see that the roots have taken when there are new leaves forming.
- Then you can cut off the runner from the parent plant.
- If they are in pots leave them there and water until you want to transplant them into their final growing place in October or next spring.
- If you fixed the runners in the same plot as the parents plants then you just have to cut the runners once the plants have rooted.
- Last year I knew I had to completely move all my strawberry plants from their plot because they had been there for four years.
- This gave me the opportunity to make two new smaller plots in the garden and to turn the old strawberry plot into a flower garden.
- I had a lot of runners last year so potted some of them directly into four window boxes that I planned to display in my large concrete lane way.
Strawberriy Plants in Flower
Keep them well watered as they grow.
You will see the white flowers coming up on the plant first.
They make a nice display so can double up as a summer flower plant too.
This is where the strawberries need to be pollinated by the birds, bees and other insects.
You can help this process along by using a small soft paint brush and gently going from one flower to the other.
Each flower will produce a fruit this usually takes about thirty to thirty five days depending on the weather.
Taking Care of the Strawberries once they Produce the Fruit
- Water the plants regurlary and do not let the soil dry out when the fruit is growing.
- Now is also the time to place some straw or other fine mulch around the base of the plants.
- Add some broken up egg shells or if you live near a beach broken shells on top of the mulch.
- This will stop slugs and snails from getting near them.
- For extra protection from birds place a light net over the plants once the strawberries start to appear.
- I picked one up from a field where they had left it after baling the grass when I was walking my dog.
- Or you can use an old net curtain or light material as long as it lets in the sun for the berries to continue to grow.
When to Harvest the Strawberries
Check the plants everyday once you see that some of the fruits are turning red.
Pick the ripe ones and leave the ones that are still green alone.
Always pull the fruit from the stem.
You will be picking fresh strawberries for up to four weeks.
They go bad very quickly if washed so leave in a bowl unwashed until you plan to eat them.
Strawberries can be eaten on their own or with cream or ice cream.
You can also make strawberry jam or puree.
If you plan to make jam strawberries can be frozen and will keep for up to three months in the freezer.
Clearing the Strawberry Bed and Containers
Once you have picked all the fruit from the plants they will continue to grow.
You will see the leaves begin to wither and then it is time to clear them away.
- Cut off all the leaves right down to the crown.
- Rake them up and the mulch with a hand rake.
- Place in a garden waste bag.
If doing this for the first time do not be alarmed.
It looks drastic and you may think you have destroyed the plants. I have added photos here so you can see how it looks. Believe me you will see your strawberry plants grow back full of life in the spring.
How to Grow strawberries in a Hanging Basket
You will need
- A hanging basket
- A bracket and screws
- Plastic sheet
- Plastic bottle
- Potting compost
- Small stones or foam
How to Make a Hanging Basket
- Cut a plastic sheet to fit the inside of the basket
- Cut lots of drainage holes in it.
- Place the sheet inside the basket and fit into place
- Add some stones or foam for added drainage
- Put some potting compost into the basket about twelve inches high
- Cut a large strip at the edge of the bottom of the basket where you want to place the first plant
- Push the roots of your first plant through the plastic and into the basket
- Repeat this around the bottom of the basket several times
- Press the soil down firmly around these newly planted strawberries.
- Add more soil on top of the roots and press down hard again
- Take a plastic bottle and remove the top. Then cut the bottom off.
- Place the bottle with the mouthpiece face down into the compost
- Add about another ten inches of compost to the basket and repeat the process of planting some of the strawberries around the edge
- But remember to leave one side of the basket free of plants. This will be the side that will remain mostly in the shade because it will be facing the wall.
- Fill the basket up with compost leaving ten inches of the top free
- Plant the remainder of your plants inside the top of the hanging basket.
- Cover them with soil and press down hard
- Water very well and hang the basket on a garden wall.
- When you are watering the plants as they grow also put the hose into the plastic container and let the water run through it. This will help you get water directly to the lower roots.
How to Make Strawberry Jam Recipe
- 2 pounds of fresh strawberries
- 2 pounds of Jam Sugar
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Best Strawberry Jam Recipes
- Put a saucer in the freezer
- Sterilize the jam jars by washing them in hot water and then putting them on a tray in the hot oven.
- Remove the stalks and wash the strawberries
- Crush them either using a potato masher or putting them into a blender
- Place in a large saucepan
- Add the sugar and mix under a low heat until it is dissolved
- Add the lemon juice and stir in.
- Boil the mixture in the pot stirring the mixture often.
- If the jam begins to show too much froth on the surface add a knob of butter and stir in.
How to Test the Jam
- After about thirty minutes remove the saucer from the freezer.
- Take a small amount of jam from the pot with a spoon and put on the saucer.
- Wait five minutes and test the jam.
- Put your finger at the top of the jam on the saucer and run it down the middle.
- If a space is left where you ran your finger then the jam is set.
- If it is runny then continue to boil the jam for a further ten minutes and try again.
- When the jam is ready remove the jars from the oven.
- Pour the jam into each jar with a ladel
- Make sure to add the lid onto each jar before you fill up the next one.
A Note about Jam Sugar
Here in Ireland you can buy sugar that is specially mixed with pectin for making jam and marmalade. This is called Jam Sugar.
You can use ordinary white sugar when making this strawberry jam recipe. But because strawberries have very little natural pectin in them it will take at least another hour of boiling before the jam is ready to set.
In some countries you can buy pectin in the shops. By adding this to the mixture with the sugar as it boils you will cut the cooking time.
How to Make Strawberry Topping
- 2 pounds of strawberries
- 1 pound of jam sugar
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- Remove the stalks and wash the strawberries.
- Crush them loosely allowing about a half of them to be in larger bits.
- Add to a pot and simmer
- Stir in the sugar and lemon juice.
- Boil for fifteen minutes.
- Pour into plastic containers and allow it to go cold.
- Put the lids on and put one in the fridge and the others in the freezer
- You can use for adding to ice cream, pancakes and rice.
Best Jam Tart Recipes
When I make shortcrust pastry for a steak pie or apple tart I always use the extra pieces to make a jam tart. In an article I wrote about making Apple Pie I included step by step instructions for making Shortcrust Pastry. Further down this article I explain how to make the jam tart with the pastry and jam.
If you would like to try this recipe click the link below
All Images are the copyright of L.M.Reid unless otherwise stated
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