Strawberries are easy to grow. You can plant them in your backyard if you have space or use containers if the area is limited.
It is easier to ensure your fruit is fresh and untreated if it is from your garden.
Harriet Nakabaale, a gardener at Camp Green says strawberries can be planted by seed or runners, although they do not grow well if planted by seed.
She explains that one can get a runner from its mother plant, dig a hole six inches deep and place the plant therein; but the soils should be well-drained and must contain compost manure.
The seed will germinate within three weeks and after a month, the plant will start bearing fruit.
“When fruits start to grow, remove the runners from the mother plant. This helps the fruits to grow healthily,” she says, adding that if not removed, they will feed on their mother, hence affecting the fruit quality and size.
Nakabaale says the strawberry plant should be watered two times a day, in the morning before the sun comes out and in the evening when the sun has gone down.
“Too much water will make the roots rot and if it is a rainy season, there is no need to water,” she advises.
Strawberry plants should be spaced to allow them to grow well. Nakabaale says a person with limited space can plant their berries in containers and hang them on their porch.
“This keeps the fruits from being eaten by animals,” she notes.
Weeding and harvesting
She explains that one can harvest strawberries at four to six months after blossoming.
But only harvest ripe berries (they will appear red in colour).
A strawberry garden should be weed free; remove the weeds using your hands. Mulching also keeps weeds away.
Pests and diseases
Strawberries are affected by slugs, spider mite, beetles, powdery mildew, which can be prevented by use of a pesticide.
Nakabaale says slugs ferociously attack berries, but one way to get rid of them is by mixing tap water with salt and spraying it on the slugs.
“To avoid affecting the plant, spray the slugs directly,” she advises.