Having had reasonable success with our alpine strawberries last year we've succumbed to the catalogue images and descriptions and decided to try to grow some full size berries in 2007. The plants arrived in early winter and were then planted in 4” pots in the greenhouse.
In March they will be will moved them into the cold frame, then into the allotment as soon as possible. When planting it is important to ensure that the crown of each plant is just above soil level or the whole plant may rot. If we are lucky we will expect to be picking fruit from June to maybe early October.
The young plants will need to be well watered after planting. Some people prefer to plant strawberries in containers including purpose made strawberry pots. We have had problems in the past keeping strawberries grown in pots watered and so ours will go into a bed on the plot. It is important to keep the berries off the soil so we will probably mulch the plants with straw. As the name of the fruit suggests this is the traditional mulch for these fruits. The problem is that the mulch also provides an ideal hiding place for slugs too!
Once the berries are ripening we will have to consider protecting with netting to prevent the birds getting to the berries. We will also need to keep the runners produced in check.
We're trying three varieties Mae an early fruiting variety, Marshmello main crop, and Florence late mid-season. These choices hopefully will provide us with strawberries over an extended period and we are looking forward to a flavour which will surpass that of berries bought in the supermarket.
All we have to do is keep the birds and slugs from eating the fruit before we do.