Growing Strawberries in a Polytunnel means it is possible to bring forward flowering by several weeks, they just need sun, shelter, and fertile soil. Plant in early autumn ready for the following spring. If you have any runners from the previous summer plant these from late spring to early summer for fruit by the autumn
We put our strawberries in grow bags on a purpose built wooden bench this March with great results as the photographs show. The bench is about four feet high and about thirty feet long one side of the Polytunnel. Onions are growing in the space underneath. Plant six go eight plants to a grow bag, staggering them. Dig a large enough hole to take the root spread out, crown resting on the surface, then water the plants in well
Water frequently while your plants are establishing and growing. Water the soil around the plant else watering from overhead may rot your fruit. About March apply general fertiliser. During the growing season give the plants a liquid potash feed, we used Comfrey liquid manure, every 7 to 14 days. Hand pollinate the flowers
As the fruits start to develop, tuck straw, fibre mats or ground cover underneath the plants to prevent the strawberries from rotting. This will also help to suppress weeds. Pick the strawberries when they are bright red all over. They do not keep well so eat them within a few hours, or use them for jam, tarts and desserts, or freeze them
After cropping has finished, remove all the old leaves. Also remove your straw mulch, fibre mat, or ground cover, to prevent a build-up of pests and diseases.
Try varieties such as Cambridge Favourite, a traditional variety with few diseases, Pegasus, an excellent cropper with good resistance to disease or Mara de Bois, delicious flavour akin to a wild strawberry.