One of an occasional series of plant notes - Strawberries

Strawberries are a favourite plant for allotmenteers. They have high cash value, come into fruit in the first year of planting, and have no particular needs as to soil. They can be grown in pots or grow bags, are largely pest and disease free, and only require basic protection from slugs and birds.

Strawberries can be eaten fresh straight from the plant (the of course the optional addition of cream) and/or processed into jams etc.

As plants, they naturally produce new young plants in great numbers, such that plot-holders rarely buy new plants from nurseries, but get rooted 'plantlets' from their neighbours. Separated from the parent plant and planted out in late summer, the new plants should crop the following summer.

However if you are looking to buy new stock, Gardening Which have been running a trial of varieties. Here with brief summary are their 3 best buys and 2 recommended varieties from a 2yr trial. Full details are in the October 2020 issue.

Elsanta: Heaviest crop both years. Good quality fruit, but not the best flavour.

Where to buy: Pomona Fruits

Sweetheart: Sweetest Fruits. Vigorous leafy plants, with large fruits.

Where to buy: DT Brown

Korona: Largest Fruits, very juicy with good flavour. Fruits on long stems, easy to pick

Where to buy: Chris Bowers & Sons

Manille: A French variety, bred for flavour. Smaller fruits and lower yield. Fruit rich and fragrant.

Where to buy: Pomona Fruits.

Malwina: Lowest yield but best flavoured of all on trial and most the attractive fruits.

Where to buy: Marshalls

Oz Osbourne, Horticulture Manager, Moor Green Allotments

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