Down on the Allotment

What's happening down on the allotment? An intimate account of a passionate veggie grower.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Anyone for tennis?

I picked three and a half pounds of strawberries yesterday! They are coming thick and fast at the moment with these alternate days of bright sunshine followed by rain showers. There is a fear that because the strawberry harvest has been so early this year, that when the tennis at Wimbledon starts next week all the British crop will have gone and we will be importing strawberries from Europe! Shame! It has been an exceptional year for strawberries, I think the long, hard Winter was good for the developing crowns. Many soft fruit varieties benefit from long, cold Winters to enable them to form lots of fruit buds.

I have also been maintaining and attending to this strawberry bed for a few years now. I do not allow the plants to flower or fruit at all in their first year, I nip out the flowers in order to develop the crowns. The second year is usually quite good, the third year is spectacular with a good number of large fruit. Thereafter the berries just get smaller and more numerous. These plants are not a good use of space so I mark them with a plastic tag to note which plant to dig up when they have finished fruiting.

This one is getting past its best so I have marked it for removal. I have quite a good succession of plants of different ages now.

Elsewhere these lovely leek flowers have been doing what nature intended! The bees have been all over them and there are many more to come.

I hope they will keep going for several more weeks so that the bees will be encouraged into my allotment to pollinate the squashes and pumpkins. I must also re-iterate that Matron does not do flowers! Just in case you had forgotten - these are veggies!

18 Comments:

At 7:19 PM, Blogger Martin and Amy said...

Yes please! (in responce to your title)

I recon there will be plenty of British strawberries to go round. Ours are only small at the moment and we still have flowers. Not a single ripe one yet.

Great year for British strawberries as a whole though!!

 
At 7:20 PM, Blogger Peggy said...

We have a bumper crop of strawberries this year too and the first raspberries are turning red.
I have been checking the broad beasn for blackfly but narry a one so far!
I am glad you said the crimson ones are smaller than the others as I was getting worried by their lack of growth, other than that they are covered in beautiful crimson flowers and other plotters keep asking what they are.

 
At 8:46 PM, Blogger RobD said...

My strawberries are only just starting here so will probably be at their peak next week. I could make a killing ;>)

Leek flowers, just a short step to alliums....

 
At 10:22 PM, Blogger Chicken lover said...

Matron
The strawberries look fantastic and what a crop!
You must do some flowers! I didn't till I gave in and sowed the free flower seeds I had, I now have asters, mimulus, tansy, echinacea, lavender, verbascum, sweet peas, nasturtiums............ have companion planted near my beans
Happy gardening
Jane

 
At 11:23 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Its hard to resist taking a crop the first year but you are right to make them wait until the second year, I also take off the runners if they aren't needed. If you run short of Strawberries down south we might be able to find you some up here in Yorkshire as ours are only just starting to ripen.

 
At 11:50 PM, Blogger Scarlett the Heavenly Healer said...

Oh, I love it - we're all strawberried out! I'm on around half a kilo each allotment visit (and only picking choice super-red ripe ones), and have been visiting every couple of days. An amazing strawberry year!

Great bee photo.

 
At 12:21 AM, Blogger Kris said...

True, Matron does not do flowers. But veggies, on the other hand.... ;-D

 
At 2:26 AM, Blogger Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

Matron, I could use some of your bee's...my squash is blooming but that's all :o(, then they just die

 
At 8:29 AM, Blogger Bangchik and Kakdah said...

I am figuring out how to grow strawberries here....Is there any hot climate variety?

 
At 10:17 AM, Blogger Sue@Green Lane Allotments said...

I'm not as disciplined as you in removing flowers on new plants but I'm having a job keeping up to removing the runners produced.

 
At 4:09 PM, Blogger melsanford said...

But such pretty veggies.... :-) You're strawberries are looking fab - thanks for the tips :-) Love 'n' hugs, Mel xx

 
At 7:30 PM, Blogger Growth Spurts said...

That is a lot of strawberries. do you put hay around the plants?

 
At 9:39 PM, Blogger Matron said...

Growth Spurts - yes I use straw, laid below the plants just as they begin to flower.

 
At 12:55 PM, Blogger Caro (UrbanVegPatch) said...

All of my strawberries are from runners gifted to me. The fruits have been very small this year and I'm thinking I need to try new plants. Interesting to know that the flowers should be snipped off in the first year - thanks for the tip!

 
At 1:24 PM, Blogger islandgal246 said...

Matron I'd like to put in an order for two bottles of your Strawberry Jam. I have a friend coming out in July and would send you something in return. Can we do a deal then? LOLLL I am serious though.

 
At 8:44 PM, Blogger Dan said...

The strawberries are just coming on here. They a monsters this year will all the rain we have had.

 
At 9:46 PM, Blogger Why I garden... said...

Superb strawberries and like the flowering leeks :)

 
At 9:33 PM, Blogger Matron said...

Islandgal - I'm afraid the strawberries are nearly gone now! Not enough to make jam this year. Maybe next.

 

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