The Hastings Mail - - WHAT’S ON -

The first straw­ber­ries will be ripe in a few weeks, so spend some time this week­end tidy­ing up es­tab­lished straw­berry beds. Weed (care­fully) around your plants. Do this with a hand-held trowel or fork rather than a push hoe or spade, as straw­ber­ries have wide spread­ing roots that are eas­ily dam­aged when you’re yank­ing out com­pet­ing weeds. Once the weeds are all cleared, lightly water in fer­tiliser. You can use any gen­eral pur­pose NPK fer­tiliser, as straw­ber­ries are vig­or­ous grow­ers with a gen­eral hunger for ni­tro­gen as well as the potas­sium in a spe­cial­ist fruit fer­tiliser such as Dal­tons Straw­berry Fert or a tomato fer­tiliser. The fi­nal step is to lay mulch or straw over the bare soil around your plants to sup­press weed growth and keep the de­vel­op­ing fruit clear of the soil. Later, when the fruit is ripe, it will be less sus­cep­ti­ble to rot­ting on the un­der­sides or get­ting grey mould if it isn’t sit­ting on damp spring soil. Get your bird cov­ers sorted now too. Plas­tic net­ting does the trick.

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