Strawberry fields

We’ve just planted a new strawberry bed. Our first one was established in the spring of 2006. Florence and Mara des Bois. Here it is two years later, at the start of the season.

It did pretty well, although the yield of Mara des Bois was always a little disappointing. The row of Florence plants is in flower here, also in 2008.

But after 5 years, the plants are coming to the end of their productive life. We’ll keep them going this year, but we’ve now got another thirty fresh runners to take over from them. This time we’ve gone for the mainstream varieties – Honeoye for earlies, Elsanta for main, and Symphony for lates, recently delivered from Blackmoor Nurseries who are our favourite fruit plant supplier. (We also bought raspberry canes and a quince tree, but more of that in another post.)

We learned some lessons from last time. For one thing, we dug in copious amounts of farmyard manure and prepared the bed carefully to get rid of as many perennial weeds as possible. For another, we completely covered the bed in permeable membrane to suppress the weeds. Last time we put down two strips, but this gave the weeds a chance to break through between the rows, and break through they did!

There’s not much to see at the moment of course, but here is our newly planted bed:

The runners are planted through small cross cuts in the membrane. Here are the ten Elsanta plants:

And although the reality is never quite as good as the anticipation, here’s what we’re hoping for:

Roll on summer!

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