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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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