At last !!
Let it be recorded, that on the 12th May 2012, I finally have the strawberry plants planted into a new bed.
I've been stewing the idea of where to plant them over the past couple of months, with the location oscillating between two or three spots; and trying to work out the source of some nice rich fertile growing medium that will ensure production over the next couple of years.
You may remember in February that I obtained a few different varieties of berries, including bare-root strawberries. I put these into pots almost immediately and placed them into open coldframes or similar, which gave them a chance to establish some roots and begin to grow while I mulled over their placement.
The final destination, I determined, would be an ideal spot, which was not too far away from the house, and in a nice south west facing position - ideal for them really. Delighted with my decision, I consulted with my better half about the location only to find that this very spot is where she had determined would be an deal venue for lingering with guests on lovely summers evenings (for those interested in design, rule number one, ALWAYS consult users, and potential users, of the garden for their thoughts!!)
Hmmm ... back to the drawing board.
Their eventual resting place is right beside where I was initially going to have them, only this time they are in a raised bed along by the fence. It has worked out better this way, as I've since discovered the soil in the garden is pretty terrible, so raising the bed and using my own mix of growing medium is far more preferable. For this, I used very well rotted manure, nice fresh topsoil and a number of bags of potting compost, adding in some fish, blood and bone meal.
This bed now contains three varieties - Elegance, Symphony & Elasnta
(Note to self: this is the order they have been planted along the bed, starting with Elegance nearest the house)
The only one I have experience of growing is Elasanta, which is a good reliable mid-season variety, with nice tasting fruits. Elegance promises to be better tasting and larger mid-season variety, while Symphony is a later fruit producing variety, giving us fruits well into August apparently.
Time will tell me more about them and I'll only be too happy to taste, write about taste, and taste some more! I have a particular interest in jam making, and constantly discussing theories of what works best for non-runny strawberry preserve so I can't wait to see what these bring to the table.
Other berry producing plants in this bed are grapes, loganberry and wall trained gooseberry. Delicious.
Of course I'm not expecting large crops this year, although a couple of berries would be nice!