Thursday, May 23

Alternative Strawberries

We grow lots of alpine strawberry plants - if you want a decent crop of fruit you haven't really any choice than to grow lots of them. The cultivars that we grow in our gardens have been developed from the wild woodland strawberry. 
Alpine strawberries are much smaller than 'normal' strawberries and their texture is softer. If you grow alpine strawberries expecting the fruits to be just small versions of their big cousins then you will be disappointed. They are not juicy and the taste isn't as obvious. We use them to make a compote that we use to make our own fruit yoghurt or to liven up the morning bowl of porridge.

We have various generations of alpine strawberries as most year's we grow new ones from seed and dig up those plants that have become straggly. This year our oldest plants have been discarded and as - for some reason - the seeds we sowed last year didn't grow, we will have a much depleted crop this year.
We plant alpines as edging plants around several of our fruit beds and the ones that were planted a couple of years ago needed tidying and weeding. These have been split and replanted. Although some varieties of alpines are said to produce runners, ours - Alexandria - never have. Some have self seeded though and these have been transplanted.
They are already producing flowers so hopefully we should soon have some berries to pick.

We also have some plants in our over- spill strawberry bed. I've left the self seeded foxgloves as they don't seem to be doing any harm!
Meanwhile the next batch of new plants are still tiny seedlings. The seedlings grow very slowly. We have two sowings some being further advanced than the others have started to produce their true leaves.
Hopefully once pricked out into modules they will produce healthy plants like the ones below and will go on to keep us supplied with fruits for two or three years before they too will have to make way for younger specimens.



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

14 comments:

  1. So I'll not be getting much of a crop from my 9 Alpine Strawberry plants then... The quality had better be good enough to make up for the lack of quantity! Have you got any "Mara des Bois"? They have a reputation for being probably the best-tasting Strawberry of all.

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    1. Ours are Alexandria. Mark. It's quite difficult to find differing varieties of them - I think I tried to source Mara de Bois once and couldn't find any seeds.

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  2. I've not heard about alpine strawberries before....you live and learn eh?

    I too always leave foxgloves and poppies as they are so beautiful and take little from the soil, but this year I have hundreds of poppies in my veggie patch......

    your strawberry plants do look wonderful.xxxx

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    1. I have poppies too, Snowbird which interestingly I have never planted on the plot. They're the fluffy double pink variety and the pinkish purple with black blotches type.

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  3. This may be a silly question but does it take ages to pick all the tiny alpine strawberries? I suppose they can be frozen and used year round.

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    1. Not silly at all as it is a labour intensive type of task. I suppose it does take quite a while, Kelli but the berries do tend to be held above the plant. As ours are scattered around that plot it takes longer. We usually make a compote and freeze that but then we have lots of plants. We also have some sprinkled on fruit salads.

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  4. Lovely looking plants Sue. I've no idea what variety mine are as they have moved from garden to garden (always leaving a plant or two behind for the next people of course!)Originally they came from my parents garden where they still grow like weeds, are good ground cover and delicious! And lots of fun to pick when you're a kid!

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    1. Do your spread by runners, JIll? Mine just spread by self sown seedlings but we don't get enough to replace what we dig up.

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  5. Yes they spread by prolific runners, I never do anything for them and they just keep on going...the sort of plant I like!

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    1. I did read that some varieties produce runners, Jill but the varieties we have grown never have which hiw we use them is a good thing.

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  6. When I first got my allotment I tried some alpine strawberries and was very disappointed for all the reasons you mentioned, at first I thought it was that I had done something wrong but with research found out that this is just how they are. Now I don't have any a;pines in the ground, I never thought of growing them just for cooking with though, something to bear in mind for the future, maybe the bees would like a nice bed of them near their hives?!

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    1. I think catalogue descriptions lead you to be disappointed in them Tanya.

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  7. I love them! I have a few of them in my garden, the red and the yellow variety, but unlike those yellow raspberries you wrote me about some time ago (that they taste a bit worse than the red ones) - the yellow alpine strawberries (I have the variety 'yellow wonder') taste much better than the regular red ones! They're both bigger and sweeter in taste.

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    1. I've never seen yellow alpine strawberries, Dewberry. Something to look out for. I have seen some with yellow leaves but not yellow fruits.

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