In their second year, in a dedicated fruit cage that’s pretty much finished, now, made from old estate agent poles, second-hand chicken wire and batons out of a skip. Just one side to go; I hung a net over that side during bird season.
I needn’t have bothered, to be honest. The birds showed little interest in my meagre harvest.
The strawberries are all French. Gariguette grew strongly and harvested, surprisingly, best, but even that was pretty thin. I didn’t bother with straw this year as they were so upright and last year the straw seemed to encourage slugs. The berries were excellent quality, excellent flavour and provided a couple of stunning event meals, but they were slugged. I need to find a good way of controlling them next year. I shall probably mulch with proper straw and not the nasty hamster bedding I accidentally bought last year.
I took many runners last year and put them into window boxes on the edges of other plots. They cropped but not well. I think they might have been too wet, then too dry.
The other two varieties were disappointing. Mara de Bois had a few, very well-flavoured fruits but it did not really earn its place on the plot, even with my criteria of being an event to eat – there were just too few fruits to bother with and Gariguette tastes better. It may have become too dry in the raised bed, so I will give it one last year then, if it still does nothing, replace it.
Manille didn’t really come up with anything at all. It grew, but it hardly fruited at all. Again, I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and water it more often, but if it doesn’t come up with the goods in 2017, it goes.
Mara de Bois – 3/10
Manille – 2/10
I think it’s definitely on the ‘could do better’ list…