Strawberries are a popular fruit in the UK, and they have a typical growing season that spans from late spring to early autumn. The precise months during which strawberries grow in the UK can vary depending on local climate conditions and the specific variety of strawberries being grown. Here is a general guideline for the strawberry growing season in the UK:
- Early Varieties: Some early-season strawberry varieties can start to produce fruit as early as May.
- Main Season: The main strawberry season in the UK typically begins in June and lasts through July and August.
- Late Varieties: Late-season varieties may continue to produce strawberries into September and, in some cases, even into October if the weather permits.
It’s important to note that the timing of strawberry growth can be influenced by factors such as weather conditions, local microclimates, and the use of methods like protected cultivation (e.g., greenhouses or polytunnels). Additionally, many British strawberry farms offer “pick-your-own” opportunities, allowing people to harvest their own strawberries during the prime growing season.
To get the most accurate and up-to-date information on when strawberries are available for picking in your specific area of the UK, you may want to check with local farms, markets, or gardening resources.
How do I grow strawberries UK?
Growing strawberries in the UK can be a rewarding and relatively straightforward endeavor, whether you have a garden, allotment, or even some outdoor space in containers. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to grow strawberries in the UK:
- Choose the Right Variety: Select strawberry varieties that are well-suited to the UK climate. Popular choices include “Elsanta,” “Mara des Bois,” “Cambridge Favourite,” and “Honeoye.”
- Select a Suitable Location:
- Strawberries prefer full sun, so choose a spot in your garden or outdoor space that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
- Ensure the area has well-draining soil. Strawberries don’t like to sit in waterlogged soil, so you may need to improve drainage if your soil is heavy.
- Prepare the Soil:
- Work the soil by removing weeds, rocks, and debris.
- Add organic matter, such as well-rotted compost or manure, to improve soil structure and fertility.
- Plant strawberry plants in late spring or early autumn. It’s best to purchase healthy young plants (runners) from a reputable nursery or garden center.
- Space the plants about 12-18 inches apart in rows with 2-3 feet between rows.
- Plant Care:
- Water regularly, especially during dry spells, but avoid overwatering to prevent rot.
- Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring, and consider feeding with a potassium-rich fertilizer (e.g., tomato fertilizer) when the plants start to flower and set fruit.
- Mulch around the plants to suppress weeds, retain soil moisture, and keep the fruit clean.
- Protect from Birds: Birds can be a common nuisance for strawberry plants. Consider using netting or bird scarers to protect your crop.
- Pest and Disease Control:
- Be vigilant for pests like slugs, snails, and aphids. You can use organic or chemical controls as needed.
- Keep an eye out for diseases like gray mold (Botrytis) and remove affected plant parts promptly to prevent the spread of disease.
- Strawberries are ready to harvest when they are fully red and ripe. Gently pick them, including the stem, to avoid damaging the plant.
- Harvest in the morning when the berries are cool and at their sweetest.
- Strawberry plants tend to decline in productivity after a few years. To maintain a healthy crop, it’s a good idea to replace your plants every 3-4 years. You can do this by planting new runners from your existing plants.
- Winter Care:
- In late autumn, cover your strawberry plants with straw or horticultural fleece to protect them from winter frost.
By following these steps and providing proper care, you can enjoy homegrown strawberries in the UK throughout the growing season.
Where do strawberries grow UK?
Strawberries are grown in various regions across the United Kingdom. They are a popular and commercially significant crop, and you can find strawberry farms and production in different parts of the country. Here are some of the regions where strawberries are commonly grown in the UK:
- Kent: Kent, often referred to as the “Garden of England,” is one of the most famous regions for strawberry cultivation. It has a long tradition of strawberry farming and is known for producing high-quality strawberries.
- Herefordshire: Herefordshire, located in the West Midlands, is another significant strawberry-growing region in the UK.
- East Anglia: This region, which includes counties like Norfolk and Suffolk, also has a strong presence of strawberry farms.
- Scotland: Despite the cooler climate, strawberries are grown in Scotland, especially in more sheltered areas and with the use of protective measures like polytunnels.
- South West England: Counties like Cornwall and Devon also have strawberry cultivation, benefiting from milder conditions near the coast.
- Wales: Welsh strawberry production is found in various parts of the country.
- Yorkshire and the North of England: Some strawberry farms are located in these regions as well.
It’s worth noting that the ability to grow strawberries is not limited to specific regions. With the right care and attention, you can grow strawberries in gardens, allotments, and even in containers on patios or balconies throughout the UK. The choice of strawberry variety and the use of protective measures, such as polytunnels, can extend the growing season and make strawberry cultivation more feasible in a wider range of locations.
Can strawberries survive UK winter?
Strawberries are generally not frost-tolerant, and they cannot survive the harsh conditions of a typical UK winter without some form of protection. The combination of cold temperatures, frost, and freezing can be detrimental to strawberry plants. However, there are several steps you can take to help your strawberry plants survive the winter in the UK:
- Covering and Mulching: In late autumn, before the first hard frosts, cover your strawberry plants with a layer of straw or horticultural fleece. This provides insulation and helps protect the plants from freezing temperatures. Additionally, it prevents the soil around the plants from freezing too deeply.
- Potted Strawberries: If you’re growing strawberries in containers, you have the option of moving the pots to a more sheltered location, such as a greenhouse, shed, or garage, during the winter months. This offers protection from the cold and frost.
- Raised Beds and Containers: If you have your strawberries planted in raised beds or containers, you can insulate the roots further by lifting the containers off the ground or insulating the sides of the raised beds.
- Protect from Snow: If your region experiences heavy snowfall, ensure that the weight of the snow doesn’t damage your strawberry plants or containers. Brush off excess snow gently to avoid breakage.
- Variety Selection: Some strawberry varieties are more cold-hardy than others. If you’re in an area with harsh winters, consider planting varieties known for their winter resistance.
- Renewal: After a few years, strawberry plants tend to become less productive. In some cases, it might be best to replace the plants with new runners in the spring to ensure better yields.
By taking these precautions, you can increase the chances of your strawberry plants surviving the winter in the UK. Keep in mind that the level of winter protection required can vary depending on your specific location and the severity of the winter weather in your area.
What month can I plant strawberries in the UK?
he best time to plant strawberries in the UK is in the late summer or early autumn, typically from late August to early September. Planting during this period allows the strawberry plants to establish their roots and get acclimated to the soil before the winter sets in.
Planting strawberries in late summer to early autumn has several advantages:
- Establishment Before Winter: Planting in this timeframe allows the strawberry plants to develop strong root systems before the onset of winter, which helps them survive the colder months.
- Early Harvest the Following Year: By planting in the late summer or early autumn, you can expect to have a good crop of strawberries the following spring and summer.
- Cooler Temperatures: Cooler temperatures in the late summer and early autumn reduce the stress on the plants compared to planting in the heat of summer. This can lead to better plant health and growth.
When planting strawberries, follow these steps:
- Choose healthy strawberry plants, either bare-root or potted.
- Prepare the soil by removing weeds, rocks, and debris. Ensure the soil is well-draining and has been enriched with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure.
- Space the strawberry plants about 12-18 inches apart in rows, with 2-3 feet between rows.
- Water the newly planted strawberries thoroughly to help settle the soil around the roots.
- Apply a layer of mulch around the plants to suppress weeds and retain moisture.
- Protect the newly planted strawberries from birds and pests as needed.
- As winter approaches, consider covering the plants with straw or horticultural fleece to protect them from frost.
Planting strawberries during this window provides a good balance between allowing the plants to establish themselves and ensuring a timely harvest in the following growing season. However, you can also plant strawberries in the spring if you missed the autumn planting season, but they may not produce as prolifically in their first year.