103 – strawberry bed made for summer

I always think it’s a bit odd to make up a strawberry bed: sounds like eiderdowns and pillows and such when in fact ‘making up’ for my strawberries involves barley straw and—this year—the amazing strawberry dome!

Usually I wouldn’t be strawing until mid May, but the fruit is so well developed, as you can see, that it needed to be done this week to stop the green berries resting on the soil which has several unpleasant consequences: where the fruit touches the ground it can start to rot; once it gets dirty the fruit is more difficult to clean, especially as grit and grains of soil can embed themselves in the growing fruit as it presses into the ground; slugs and snails can travel over wet earth much more easily than they can over straw, and love to munch out the insides of fruit resting on the ground. There’s also a couple of benefits to strawing the fruit when it comes to picking: first, they ripen more evenly as the pale straw reflects back the sun to the underside of the plant and second, ripe fruit are much easier to spot against the golden straw than they are against dirt!

When it came to our circular bed, we were a bit unsure about the dome that supports the net, but it worked out okay. The instructions showed the struts being placed outside the largest metal circle but we found it more structurally sound to set them inside the metal. We haven’t used the pegs and ties, but simply put stones on the outside of the net to hold it down, as we aren’t sure how often we’re going to have get in there and weed, as we’ve strawed them so early. Now I can’t wait until they are ripe!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Blogger Paul and Melanie said...

That looks great! We've nto got anything netting'esq over our strawberry plants at the moment, perhaps it's somthing I should be thinking of.... Eeeek lol

April 28, 2011 at 5:43 AM  
Blogger Tanya Walton said...

It looks very effective. I don't personally have a strawberry bed but do share my plot neighbours which is enormous and there is no way they could eat all the fruit that is produced...we have hundreds of flowers already but they aren't as advanced as yours. Fingers crossed we don't get a late frost!

April 28, 2011 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Paul and Melanie - if you don't have a problem with birds, you don't need to net. But we do, just because our allotment site is full of pigeons.

Tanya - I freeze the extras and use them for jam, or for making lovely tarts (I'll be posting a recipe for them next time) and I do think you can never have too many strawberries!

April 28, 2011 at 8:25 AM  
Anonymous DeenaV said...

Hi, do you think barley straw would be readily available in a garden centre? I've read that barley straw is probably the better type to use and would rather use that than a poly sheet.

May 19, 2011 at 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Gift Plant Girl said...

I always seem to have a bird problem. I thought bird always appeared where strawberries were growing...

July 7, 2011 at 10:55 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Deena, you can get the straw in most pet shops.

Gift Plant Girl, they do show up when the strawberries ripen, but you don't have to share your harvest with them if you don't want to!

July 11, 2011 at 3:48 AM  

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