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Strawberry Fields Forever (or not quite!) Simon Warde

I vividly remember a bus journey home from work about a year ago with an old colleague. We shared our stories of gardening and my excitement of growing my own lettuce and tomatoes for the first time. I told her of my pride for what I felt was award winning lettuce and the tastiest tomatoes that had ever been grown. From this success I wanted to plant more, but what would it be.

She told me how for many years she had planted strawberries in hanging baskets and I looked at her in disbelief…..”What, you can actually plant strawberries in a hanging basket?” I asked, expecting other bus passengers to giggle and be thinking “he isn’t going to fall for that is he?”.

She did in fact convince me that this was very achievable and most certainly worked. So this year I bought a couple of strawberry plants and with a generous amount of compost, planted them in my two hanging baskets.

How those plants have grown, how they have flowered well and there is rarely a day they are left to get too dry, with either a good splattering of rain water, or hydrated by the watering can.

So how delighted I was to see strawberries start to form, grow and turn from green to a luscious red. I therefore envisaged me plucking these large ripe strawberries and feeling like a king.

What has however happened is that the strawberries turned this luscious red, but did not grow much more at all, then started to turn a much darker red and shrank away, as if they were never there? It doesn’t feel like very good magic to me.

I’m yet to pluck a strawberry and being the beginning of July, is this not the month of harvest?

So please tell me, where have I gone wrong and for those strawberries that are now growing and green… do I turn these into the large succulent things I would purchase from a supermarket????


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Having been in the shed I think miracle grow is the stuff she might have used. I can't remember seeing anything else about anyway! Be interesting to see if food makes difference and would say if it does don't forget my cut of the next crop! But you safe as unlike most people who love strawberries I am the opposite! Can't stand them! The smell makes me feel green and anything strawberry flavoured is likely to have me heading the other direction! Saying this, I am a good lad and when shopping sometimes will pick some up for wife and son. I am sure I get strange looks in Asda ( other supermarkets are available! ) Carrying them round a…


Hi Dave,

This is very wise advice so thank you. Plant foods sounds like a very good shout and I will most certainly get some. There is fresh growth, so I still have time.


Hi Brenda,

Thanks for the advice on the Tom Tumblers and I did not know you can plant these in baskets too. I have got some tomatoes growing in planters at the moment, but certainly may try those in the planters next year. Excellent


The only thing I can think of is did you feed them like the various plant foods can get. In past years my wife has grown a few strawberries in basket or container I know apart from watering she would also add plant food. In reality all the plants had this food and did well. So maybe that is something to try next time if not used plant food.


Simon - cannot offer any advice on the strawberries but I would suggest another year you try growing cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets. There is a variety called 'Tom Tumbler' which I had a lot of success with. I grew mine from seed but have seen the plants for sale in garden centres. My grandchildren used to love picking and eating them when they visited. They were very sweet and moreish - give them a try!

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