Posted: 19/01/2013 at 20:58
If sowing strawberry seeds you can leave it as late as May and June although on most packets it says sow Autumn and Spring, sowing later still produces plants large and strong enough to get through the winter to fruit the following year.
It depends what type of strawberries you want. It's easier to buy plants but I found little choice when doing this, you can buy your usual garden varities but can grow some fabulous tasting alpine strawberries from seed, an acquired taste. Alpine are alot smaller but seem to produce fruit all summer but they don't produce runners. They come in different colours too...I'll have red, white and yellow this year.
The plant you get this year will probably just be foliage and a few buds, wouldn't go as far as saying it's a nice looking plant. You'll also get some die back on the leaves which can be removed without damaging the plant.
One or two plants aren't going to produce many stawberries either, you need at least a dozen or more plants. If you have a variety which produces runners, they can be planted in hanging baskets as the runners will hang down and these will produce fruit next year along with the mother plant. Keep the baskets well watered.