To say that a strawberry is a fruit, is to call Jimmy Hendrix a guitar player. Sure, it’s true, but it also misses the point entirely. The strawberry is the ace of the garden and the king of the plate. It is an object of desire equally welcomed in Eros’ private bath house as it is a child’s lunch box. But it’s not just daiquiri makers that covet this sweet flesh- rats, slugs, birds and bats are similarly enamoured. Like looking at a camp fire, the strawberry stirs some primal longing within all of us.
Although we are all very familiar with the summer-bearing supermarket strawberry, few people realise that there are hundreds of weird and wonderful varieties that you can grow yourself. As is often the case, what we see on the shelves has been selected for commercial characteristics such as size, yield and disease resistance, often at the expensive to taste. There are red, white, blue, black, green and even purple strawberries. Consider the pineberry, a white strawberry with red seeds and a pineapple like taste. Hands up if you’d like to grow this? Thought so.
Once you have settled on a preferred variety, the best option is to start with a seedling (or a runner if you have access to existing plants). Find a site with well draining soil and feel free to add plenty of organic matter such as compost. Strawberries do best in full sun, so share your favourite sun baking spot.