Saturday, April 20

Patching up the strawberries.

Another plot based task was to sort out the strawberry bed. As is the case with most allotment jobs this year this was well behind schedule.

Last year we decided to protect the strawberry bed with weed control fabric.
This worked very well until winter time when the strawberry leaves died back exposing the strips of fabric which as a  consequence blew around in the wind causing them to fray. We had to use strips of fabric as the plants were already in place when we decided that weed control fabric was a good idea. Ideally we would have planted through the fabric which would have prevented this problem.
One advantage of about using strips, was that I could remove them to work on the bed. In the bed are four varieties of strawberry - Marshmarvel (early), Marshmello (mid season), Amelia (late) and Flamenco (ever bearing). Marshmarvel suffered the most casualties over winter with half the plants having disappeared and most of the rest only showing a little growth. By now being an early fruiter, these plants should be the furthest into growth but the other varieties are in much better condition.
Fortunately I have an overspill strawberry bed from which I could steal plants to replant the Marshmarvel section of the bed.

I tidied up all the plants by brushing over the plants with my hand and crumbling the dead leaves. The leaf crumbs were left in place as a bit of soil improvement.
I then loosened the soil around the plants slightly with the tips of the fork prongs and sprinkled some fish, blood and bone fertiliser around the plants.






The strips of weed control fabric were then put back in place.
Once the plants grow many of the bricks and the wood will be removed as once the leaves grow over the fabric they will keep it in place. I am now looking forward to the plants repaying my tender loving care by producing masses of lovely strawberries.

PS Don't forget the competition to win a fire pit - more information here (I do hope you manage to take part as I am looking forward to reading your stories - I'm not judging so I can just enjoy!)


Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

33 comments:

  1. My strawberry bed has suffered badly over winter, so much so that I've cleared the plants which are left and I'm starting again. They never really took off from when I bought them so I hope to do better this time.

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    1. That's a shame, Jo which variety of strawberry did you plant?

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    2. They were Sonata. I also had some Flamenco everbearers which never really got established either. I've got some plants in containers in the garden, but I'm going to start over again this year at the allotment.

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  2. Nice work Sue! We're hoping for a good strawberry harvest this year too!

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    1. Can't wait for fresh berries, Robin

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  3. I have just been having a sort out of the strawberry bed too. I thought a couple of weeks ago that I had lost most of my plants, but today I have noticed a lot of new growth so I am going to let them carry on for a while before I start to panic. You havee been working hard and hopefully you will be repaid with a long season of strawberries x

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    1. The ones I dug up were well and truly dead Fran - they had no roots left.

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  4. This year I've bought this control fabric to prevent weeds growing among my strawberries. I'm planning to put it next week. Last year I used straw, but this year I have no straw, so the fabric would be perfect. The manufacturer advertises his fabric to last 12 seasons :) Well, we'll see.

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    1. 12 seasons seems a big claim for them to make, Dewberry. I can't see ours managing that.

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  5. Looking at the strawberries now, they seem so very different to the lush green plants you had last Summer! I hope that your hard work and TLC pays off. My few strawberry plants are just beginning to show a bit of new green growth, so I think they have managed to survive the Winter.

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    1. I'm hopeful Mark as the strawberries looked like this at this time last year too

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  6. You've put a lot of time and effort into the strawberries which should pay off with a bumper crop this year. They put mine to shame!

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  7. Well you have accomplished another task on your list. My list seems so long at the minute and although I have the best will in the world it seems really hard work catching up this year!

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    1. WE have got quite a lot done in a few days, Tanya but still plenty left on the list.

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  8. The bed looks great! Will you net them later against birds? And have you ever tried white berried varieties? I don't know if they are alpines or normal size but they are supposed to be tasty and birds don't notice them apparently. I am thinking of giving them a try in future.

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    1. They will be netted, Jill, We haven't grown the white variety although I have seen pictures of them. We haven't really fancied them as like the birds our minds just can't accept they would be ripe! It took us a while to realise how lovely greengages were.

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  9. They look so healthy. Unfortunately mine don't appear to have survived the winter so off to the garden centre tomorrow to buy. (Which means no bird damage so far!!). Take care. Chel x

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    1. Do you grow any on your polytunnel Linda?

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  10. Wow - talk about before and after pictures. Hope all your hard work pays off. The only ones I have are in pots in the greenhouse and they are growing away quite nicely so far.

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    1. Or even after and before Elaine :) I hope the work pays off too

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  11. What a fabulous strawberry bed Sue! I have 6 small beds in my garden as I adore strawberries, and have just bought some new varieties as the Elsanta's have overtaken! I remember having some actual strawberries on my plants last April, this year, just a few leaves poking through.

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    1. That was early Paula, our first picking was 10 June. Our early variety Marshmarvel just didn't produce. Then they were the ones to die off - If they don't do better this year I'll replace them with something else. Which was your early variety?

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  12. What a lovely big space for strawberries. I am on the verge of giving up on them as I just don't have enough sunny space spare for them to fruit properly. Its a shame though as we get through quite a lot of them.

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    1. It is a shame Liz, we love our strawberries. Can you try some in containers that will move around?

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  13. I could have done with this report a few weeks ago, before I planted out my new Marshmello strawberry patch!!! I used cheap weed suppressant fabric I had over from last year and extended it to the neighbouring raspberries which was really tricky as they were already planted. It's hard to get a flush fit isn't it! In the end there's a lot to be said for bricks as weights. So far so good: It hasn't blown away despite the strong winds of late.

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    1. It is hard to get the weed control to fit, Mal but worth the effort. Marshmello is a good choice - not sure about Marshmarvel though!

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  14. Gosh what a lot of strawberry plants Sue! You must get a really good harvest over the summer and autumn. All my strawberries are new this year - Mount Everest climbing ones and a small group of Whiteberry type, the latter of which are everbearers.

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    1. We did OK last year Jules, which was surprising thinking back to the conditions. Previous years we have had bumper harvests although that was from the old beds that started to fail. Hoping this year will provide a glut!

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  15. Very smart :}

    No chance of getting you to work the same magic on my desk or ironing basket? {snortle}

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    1. Absolutely no chance Bilbo - my desk and ironing basket would have to coax me first. Chaos here at the moment - decorating!

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    2. You have my sympathy. We bit the bullet last week and paid someone to decorate the recently refurbished rooms - and it was still a hateful experience having everything out of place. Nearly straight now ... she says quietly :}

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    3. We don't mind the decorating, Bilbo - it's the upheaval with piles of things everywhere!

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