If you'd love to grow fresh fruit for your family, but you only have a limited amount of outside space, you might like to try creating a hanging strawberry garden for your patio or even in your conservatory. Hanging baskets don't take up much room, making them perfect for use in small spaces. They will thrive indoors as well as outside.
Read on to find out how to do it.
What you'll need
- 4 strawberry plants
- hanging basket
- basket liner
- liquid tomato fertiliser
- fine netting
You can buy everything you need for this project from a good plant supplies outlet. Ask your plant supplier for a variety of 'ever-bearing' strawberries that produce several crops over the summer months so that you can maximise your fruit yield.
How to do it
- Start off by placing a liner in your hanging basket. Fill the basket half-full with compost.
- Remove the strawberry plants from their pots. Place one plant in the centre of the basket, sitting on top of the compost.
- Arrange the other three plants around the edge of the basket, spaced equally.
- Fill-in the area around the plants with compost up to a few centimetres below the edge of the basket liner. Gently press down the compost and top up again if necessary.
- Make up a batch of liquid tomato fertiliser as per the manufacturer's directions, and water the strawberry plants thoroughly. You'll need to offer the plants fertiliser monthly until they begin to flower, and then every 10 days or so.
- Place a thin layer of gravel over the compost to help moisture retention.
- If your plants are to be kept outside, it's a good idea to drape a layer of netting over the basket to stop birds from eating your strawberries.
- When the basket is ready, hang it in a sunny spot; full sun is best, as this helps to ripen the fruit and encourages greater sugar production, making the strawberries sweeter.
- When the strawberries are ready to be picked, leave the green stalk attached to the fruit to prevent disease from entering the plant.
- Strawberry plants can remain productive for up to three years. During the first year, remove the long runners that the plants send out to direct growth to the fruit producing plants.
- As the plants reach the end of their productive life, you can remove the baby plants from the runners and replant them in small pots of compost. After a week or so when the little plants are established, plant them into your basket to begin a new cropping dynasty!
You don't need a big garden to enjoy growing your own fruit. Follow the guidelines given above to create your own hanging strawberry orchard. For more information, click here.