Strawberries normally grow from runners that are planted into the ground but ‘Temptation’ is one of those rare varieties that can be grown from seed. It doesn’t produce runners but the flavour of the bright red berries is just as delicious as all of the others.
Growing strawberries is really easy and because ‘Temptation’ is a compact grower it is perfect for planting into hanging baskets, tubs and even old wheelbarrows where they will produce a bumper yield for three years. They will grow just about anywhere in the garden if they get at least 6 hours of sunlight and the soil is nice and rich. The biggest problem is getting to the fruit before everybody else in the family pinches them.
Strawberries get their name because traditionally, when they are planted, the soil around each plant is covered in straw so that the berries don’t touch the ground and get dirty or damaged. This is still a great idea and should always be done after planting, even if in a pot or container.
To plant into a garden bed, choose a spot in the garden that gets at least 6 hours of sun every day and prepare the garden bed by removing any weeds. Dig some compost through the topsoil and gently water the ground as well as the seedlings.
Use a dibbler or thick stick to make holes in the ground for the seedlings about 15cm apart. Carefully remove the seedlings from their punnet and place the root ball in the hole and gently push the soil around it.
As soon as the seedlings are planted, cover the ground with mulch such as pea straw and give them another water.
CARE AND MAINTENANCE
Keep the soil just moist by watering every day and only apply liquid fertiliser once the plants begin to flower. Keep a look out for snails which will sneakily come along at night and take a bite out of each strawberry. Also, if the fruit start to sit on the dirt, move a little straw underneath it to make a comfy bed.
Remove any old or damaged fruit as well as dead leaves to prevent them from going mouldy.
Start picking the fruit when they are deep red in colour and there are no patches of green still on them. The more that you harvest the strawberries, the more that will grow. Keep the stalks attached to the fruit as this will help them to keep for longer in the fridge.
HOW TO EAT
It would be a miracle if any strawberries actually make it into the house as they are so delicious that it would be tempting to eat them as they are harvested. However, if there are still some for the rest of the family, wash them and serve them with icecream.
To really make the strawberries sweet, sprinkle them with a tiny amount of white sugar, put plastic wrap over the bowl and put them in the fridge for 30 minutes. When you take them out, they will have a delicious syrup on them and their flavour will be far sweeter.
Strawberries are also great for desserts and homemade jams. Find recipes in our Smarty Plants Kitchen.
Botanical Name: Fragaria ananassa ‘Temptation’
Life Cycle: Three years
When to Grow: Autumn and spring
Height/Width: 20cm x 20cm
Requirements: Plant in full sun and water every day. Don’t let the soil dry out. Apply a liquid fertiliser once they start flowering. Mulch under the strawberries.
Nutritional Benefits: Great source of vitamin C and because they are naturally sweet, they are healthier than having a lolly.