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Grow bags are widely used by commercial and home growers for strawberries. Each bag will take around six plants and grow bags previously planted with an unrelated crop can be reused. To help stabilise the microclimate and improve air circulation, position the grow bags on a wooden plank (preferably of treated timber) supported about 1m (3ft) above the ground, fixed to treated posts 7.5cm (3in) in diameter driven 45cm (18in) into the ground, or to a free-standing timber support, plastic crates or concrete blocks. Grow bags can also be placed directly onto upturned crates or boxes. A rail at each end with a 15-cm (6-in) wide, rigid, small-mesh net stretched along each side will support the fruit horizontally, which helps to improve the sugar content. Yields of around 0.5 kg (1 lb) of fruit per plant can be achieved.
Troughs and window boxes can be used in much the same way as grow bags and allow proprietory or home-made composts to be included.
Terracotta and plastic strawberry pots (see pic right – photograph copyright Tim Sandall) with planting pockets are attractive containers but can be heavy and difficult to move. Plants at the bottom can suffer from insufficient light and too much water, so rotate the pots regularly and include plenty of crocks to improve drainage. There are also tower pots with sections that can be made up to a range of heights.
Most strawberry cultivars are suitable for hanging baskets, and the pink-flowered cultivars such as ‘Viva Rosa’ are particularly attractive.
With such a range of growing methods available, all gardeners can enjoy freshly-picked strawberries this summer, whatever the size of their plot.