Strawberries are trailing plants, which means that they trail down from containers, even containers like a pair of old rain boots! Your home garden will be "boot-i-ful" with this fun project.
Strawberry plants need insects to pollinate their flowers, so make sure they are put in a place sheltered from the wind, but in full sun. Windy sites prevent insects from reaching the plants. The best soil is well-drained, rich in nutrients and slightly acidic. The plants will produce fruit within 12 weeks.
Use the craft knife to cut two holes the size of each plant's root ball into the sides of the boot. Fill the boots with newspaper before cutting the holes and then remove afterward.
Fill the boot with a little gravel for good drainage. Make sure it also goes into the toes. Then fill with potting soil up to the first hole.
Gently insert a plant through the hole by holding the root ball. The top of the roots (the "crown") should be level with the soil surface. Continue to fill the boot with soil and put in the second plant. Loosen the roots by brushing off the soil before inserting.
Add in a third strawberry plant. Use your fingers to press the soil gently around the plant, making sure the crown is level with the soil.
Cover the surface with eggshells as decorative mulch. This will also help stop snails and slugs from getting to the leaves and fruit. Water the plants well around the roots for the first couple of days.
Do not overwater as the strawberry plants grow. Too much water may cause the plants to rot. But do feed them with tomato fertilizer every one or two weeks until they begin to fruit. Place the boots near to your front or back door if it is a sunny spot, since birds are not likely to go there.
This will help keep out slugs and snails. You can also cover the boot with netting to stop birds from getting the fruit first.
Excerpted from Ready, Set, Grow! by DK Books