N-P-K 5 - 7 - 5 (organic blood a
Whether they spill out of strawberry towers, tumble from hanging baskets, troughs and containers or share a spot in the flower or vegetable garden, strawberries are easy to grow and will brighten up any area of the garden.
Research shows that planting strawberries in New Zealand’s winter temperatures will increase vigour and produce a higher number of berries over the season so don’t be afraid to plant early. A rule of thumb is plant 5 strawberries for every member of the family, this should ensure you have enough berries for all to enjoy. Strawberries are a great source of Vitamin C and antioxidants.
Choose a sunny well drained position. Cultivate the soil to a depth of 30cm and blend in Tui Strawberry Mix. Tui Strawberry Mix is specially formulated with essential nutrients to ensure strawberries have the best possible start. The initial fertiliser encourages fast establishment and healthy plant growth after transplanting, while the slow release fertiliser sustains that growth and the added potassium promotes fruit and flower development.
Next make mounds for the strawberries to be planted on. Mounding improves drainage, increases air circulation around plants preventing the spread of disease and gives shallow soils more depth. Black polythene can be used to cover the mound before planting. Plant 15cm apart on the top of the mounds.
To ensure you get a good crop of berries each year the first season runners should be removed so that the plant’s energies go into producing fruit rather than foliage. In the second season plants can be left to form runners that are removed and re-planted for the next season’s fruiting.
A layer of Tui Pea Straw Pelletised Mulch or Tui Strawberry Straw around the plants will suppress weeds and conserve water as well as keeping the fruit healthy and clean.
Water regularly throughout the growing season.
Applying Tui Strawberry Food around plants will encourage fast establishment and growth of strawberry plants and actually make them tastier!
Pests & Disease
The main pest your strawberry plants will face is birds. In order to protect your crop from being eaten before you get the chance you need to put netting over the plants. Haxnicks Easy Net Tunnels are great here as they provide the balance of ventilation and shade with protection from birds and animals.
Rust, powdery mildew and mould may appear – spray at first sign with Tui Eco-Fungicide. Combine Tui Eco-Pest in the spray to provided added protection against pests like aphids and mites. Remove any diseased leaves or fruit immediately to prevent spread.
Harvest once berries are bright red and look ripe, as they tend not to ripen once picked. Remove any blemishes with a soft cloth. Avoid washing with water as it can bruise the delicate fruits. Serve at room temperature; cold berries straight from the fridge have less flavour.