Berries in a Basket
Strawberries do very well in containers and are perfect for hanging baskets
Grow the very best home-planted strawberries using a technique designed to plant through the sides of the basket. These extra plants can make all the difference by hiding the lining that is essential in all wire baskets, and also giving extra yield.
You will need:
• A wire mesh basket, 30-40cm in diameter, with a wire hanger.
• A coir lining, or loose coir for lining the basket.
• Potting medium.
• Bonemeal or superphosphate.
• Super-absorbent granules.
• Strawberry plants.
• A 15cm length of PVC pipe that has been sharpened at one end and split along its length.
1. Prepare the potting medium by mixing together with a handful of bonemeal or superphosphate and super-absorbent granules, to help retain water.
2. Place the liner in the basket.
3. Pierce the liner at intervals around the basket with a pair of scissors.
4. Add the potting mix up to the level of the holes.
5. Place each seedling for the outside of the basket carefully into the 15cm length of PVC. This handy little gadget allows the seedling to be threaded foliage-first through the coir, leaving the root ball behind in the basket, lying firmly on the growing medium. Repeat this until a ring of plants have been positioned around the basket. Fill in with more potting medium, covering the roots carefully, then firm down.
6. Start planting the upper surface of the basket by filling in with plants, working from the centre outwards and firming down each as you go. Fill in any spaces between the plants with soil.
7. Water thoroughly, and hang the basket.
CARE AND TIPS
• Suspend the completed basket so that it is approximately 1.2-1.8m above ground level. Do not make the common error of suspending it so high that it cannot be properly seen or maintained.
• Put a swivel mechanism on the suspension wire or chain to allow the basket to rotate freely.
• Water baskets daily during periods with no rainfall. Check for any signs of pests or plant diseases at the same time.
• Apply a water-soluble fertiliser that is high in potassium every 10-14 days.