Fact sheet for growing strawberries /recipe for ten minute strawberry jam biscuits

If you listened in to the gardeners’ phone-in programme this week on BBC Radio Leicester you’ll have heard us giving hints and tips on planting and growing strawberries. Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts to get the best from home grown crops.

Buying bare-rooted runners, or root stock, is an affordable way to buy strawberries online or via seed and plant catalogues. It’s a good way to buy named varieties and virus free stock.

I’ve chosen the Plant Heritage Collection from Marshalls. 30 runners for around 66p each.

Royal Sovereign : A well-known mid season strawberry famed for flavour. Large juicy fruit. Crops in early summer- and again in autumn.

Cambridge Favourite : Reliable and popular variety. Good for jams and preserves.

Red Gauntlet: Mid season, heavy cropper. Fruit is held well above the ground. Good for damper soil, or for growing under cloches or in tunnels. Some resistance to botrytis.

1. When the plants arrive, take them straight out of the Jiffy bag and either plant into 3″ pots or straight into the garden, if soil and weather conditions are suitable.

2. Choose a sunny, well drained spot – not in a frost pocket

3. Enrich the soil with well rotted garden compost, organic Plantgrow fertiliser, or peat-free sheeps wool and bracken compost from Dalefoot Compost.

4. Planting depth is crucial to success of the runners. The crown, the thickened area where the leaves are attached to the roots, should be resting at soil level. Too high and the plants will dry out. Too deep, and they will drown.

5. Don’t plant where tomatoes, chrysanthemums or potatoes have been grown. The soil may harbour wilt disease.

6. Watering techniques are important. Do not drench the leaves and leave them wet overnight. The plants are more likely to suffer from moulds and the fruit will rot. Either use a leaky pipe, or push the watering can through the leaves to water at ground level.

7. Feed every 7-14 days with a high potash liquid fertiliser. I use seaweed extract, but you can also use tomato fertiliser. Plantgrow also has a handy liquid fertiliser in its range.

8. Protect the flowers from frost using a layer of fleece. The flowers are easily damaged and turn black. A whole crop can be lost to frost overnight.

9. Cut back all leaves and remove straw mulch after fruiting to prevent a build up of pests and diseases. We use chopped mineralised Strulch.

10. The plants will naturally produce runners. Stems will arch over and where they touch the ground, new plants will grow. Pot these up and renew your strawberry beds every 3-4 years. The old plants are best discarded after this length of time as pests and diseases start to take hold.

11. Vine weevils love strawberry plants. There’s a new organic nematode treatment that can be bought off the shelf. Previously treatments had to be posted out and used fairly quickly. The new nematodes from Neudorff are easier to buy and use.

STRAWBERRY JAM ALMOND BISCUITS

These are a family favourite and only take 10 minutes to make. Lovely with morning coffee, or for afternoon tea.

Ingredients: whizz together

200g caster sugar

115g butter

115g ground almonds

115g plain flour

1tspn baking power.

1 egg

3 drops almond essence.

Rest dough in the fridge for one hour if you want biscuits to retain their round shape. I was in too much of a hurry, so mine turned out flat.

Take teaspoons full of dough and roll in the palm of your hand. Place on a baking tray. Make a well in the centre with a spoon handle or little finger. Fill with strawberry jam. Top with slivers of almond.

Cook in oven at 200C for 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them as they soon burn.

Will last for three days in a sealed container. If you can resist them that long.

Here’s a link to the radio programme. Have a listen in at 2.08.18 on the timeline.

bbcleicester http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p063rcnf

Here’s some fruit tarts I also made with the home-made jam. Totally delicious! Wonderful after a hard day working in the garden.

Click on the highlighted links for more information. These are not affiliate links.

What new plants are you trying out this spring and summer?

14 thoughts on “Fact sheet for growing strawberries /recipe for ten minute strawberry jam biscuits

  1. I was really excited to grow enough strawberries to make jam the first time I planted them but have never been able to reach those elevated heights since! Not even with putting in new plants. I think it’s probably too hot here, but now I’ve put in a watering system I may try again.

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    • Thank you Mike. Have a lovely weekend. It’s raining here- again! Still, I’ve got the annual accounts to do, so that’s an indoor job I can get out of the way before the sun comes out. If it ever does again! What a spring we are having! Love karen x

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    • Thank you Terri. I take something into the radio show each week relating to what I’m growing in the garden. So last week it was lemon curd cake because I was talking about starting to water and feed lemon trees that have been kept on the dry side all winter. Everything has to only take 10 minutes as I run a garden design business with my husband – and I’ve got two girls still living at home while they are studying/ working. Thanks for reading my blog. All the best. Karen

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  2. Karen thank you very much for explaining how to buy strawberries and how to plant them, water them and take care of them. I had strawberries but they gave fruits the size of a dice. I’ll listen to you in everything. You have achieved them very well: the Plant Heritage of Marshalls. Thanks for the link, I’ve been seeing the things you have. Karen, thank you very much also for the recipe for your Strawberry Jam Almond Biscuits. It seems very easy for a dumpy kitchen like me. I feel that these weeks with the preparations for the trip I could not hear you on the radio. And in the country house the first weeks with everything that needs to be done, I will not be able to listen to you even though I will do everything possible to do it. We are already in the country house; If you want to see how I found the garden https://margaritaexam141.wordpress.com Memories with love for your Mother. Karen love and the best. Take care. Greetings with love from Margarita.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How fabulous to see your gorgeous garden at last. You are growing the same plants as I. I love the anemones growing wild in the grass. Mine are growing in containers. I also have the prunus spinosa in flower right now. All the hedgerows look like they have billows of smoke across the top of them. Greetings from karen xx

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      • Thank you very much for your kind words Karen about the garden that is unguarded. You have raised my spirits a lot, because I have my back, my hip and my leg very badly and I can not even bend over and take something. I’m glad we have the same tastes in the plants. I’m going to do a second part of the garden because there have been changes in two days that deserve to be counted, as unexpected surprises and with mystery. Have if I have time: when I do, I warn you. You’re a good friend Karen, 🙂 Take Care. Greetings with love from Margarita.

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  3. Those berries in the first picture look like an older variety! That would be great if it is a newer variety that looks like that. It is a good big berry that is not too freakishly big. Those are weird and bland. ‘Sequoia’ was popular when I was a kid. The berries were not as big as those of modern varieties, but they were quite good. The wild berries are good, but very sparse.

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