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bodger

Strawberries in the polytunnel?

I've only used one side of our poly tunnel this year and the other day, we came up with the idea of possibly using this wasted area to produce our own strawberries.
I have a number of questions to ask. First of all, how should I set about preparing the soil prior to planting? What needs adding and in what quantity? Needless to say, we've got loads of well rotted farm yard manure at hand.
What's the best time of year to obtain plants and then to plant them?

Carrying on from this, Karen and I make a breakfast every morning of Muesli yoghurt and bought in fruit, so any strawberries we produce ourselves will go to a good cause, but we're also looking to grow our own black and red currents, raspberries  and gooseberries etc.
We don't intend growing these in the poly tunnel and any hints and tips on planting and growing will be much appreciated.

We bought some massive cultivated blackberries for our breakfast the other day and those are something else we might consider growing. We're surrounded by masses of the wild variety but those cultivated one's were superb.
sandrar

Hi Bodger, Tim grows all the above mentioned soft fruit plus more, so shout if you have any queries.

The red currant are just beginning to ripen, we find they are the most 'popular' with the birds and already they have started to strip the branches.The reds are heavy croppers, the berries freeze well, we use them mostly in conjunction with other fruits or for red currant sauce at Christmas.

Goosberries are the birds least favourite.

Of the raspberries we've found down here autumn fruiting do much better than the summer fruiting. This year is the last year for the summer . if they don't produce well we are going to replace them with a passion fruit.

Tayberry does very well crops earlier than the raspberries, larger fruits, freezes and desfrosts well.

We don't have many bushes but enough to make jam, eat fresh and freeze, giving us enough until the following year. ( we are on our last box of frozen raspberries)

I'm having problems posting photos but will try again later.
bodger

We buy our apple trees from Frank Mathews of Tenbury and I see that they also sell most of the above. Sandrar, which is the best time of the year to buy in our future top fruit? We buy our apples in the winter as bare root stock when the trees are dormant.
sandrar

I'll ask Tim. I think like fruit trees you can buy potted all year round but they're expensive and don't 'get going' as well as bare rooted plants.

I know the canes arrived looking like sticks and since then we replace any plants with suckers they've thrown up. I really don't have much to do with them, to be honest, other than the processing side.

Tim has the front garden, I have the back .....it works best.We have different styles of gardening.
bodger

I think I understand.
Toddy

How many black currants are you thinking of ?

I have a very old bush that crops heavily, has never had disease, produces beautiful tasty fruit, and regualrly bends it's branches down and roots new offsets. I must have passed along fifty of it's 'babies' over the years and all the ones that I know of have thrived.

Happy to dig some up later in the year and post them down if you'd like ?

I too highly rate the Autumn fruiting rasps. Mine were still producing a handful of fruit a day right into December. One of life's quiet pleasures.
I just leave them to get on with things, cut them down hard around February, and they come up again and fruit that year.

I'm not terribly organised about strawberries, and I'm not fond of the overblown and fungusy prone fruits that seem so prevalent just now. I do allow the old Hautbois (well, that's what I know it as, and have done all my life) ones to quietly ramble around the garden. Their biggest fruits are marble sized, are usually smaller, but the taste, and scent, is superb
Most I'll pick at one time is about a mugful, but for day to day munching they really can't be beaten, and they'll start early and go right on into late Autumn too. Wonderful syrups from them too.
They are happy just meandering over gravel paths and the like, and pull up without any problems. Don't get any feeding, don't seem to attract any pests at all don't go mouldy, are native and hardy.

M
bodger

That's a kind offer that we would be happy to take you up on Toddy.
I thought that we might be able to escape the pests that love strawberries by utilising the poly tunnel.
Christine

Answer to the original question - fine in a polytunnel if you get the airflow right else you'll just get mildewy things. Well prepared soil with lots of that well rotted manure. You can't really get a crop of first year plants as they aren't strong enough to do well. If you can gather lots of runners in the near future and pot them up so that they have autumn and winter to get good roots on then put in the well prepared soil in spring - bingo next year you are in with a good chance of much fruit.

If someone gives you some at this time of year or later in summer, pot them up and coddle them a bit so that they are sturdy for next year. Remember that they are a 3 to 4 year crop before you should renew the plants. So you would be taking runners from the best of the plants in year three end of summer to pot up and coddle for the next year.
bodger

Thanks Christine.    I'd better start wheeling poop into the tunnel.
Toddy

bodger wrote:
That's a kind offer that we would be happy to take you up on Toddy.
I thought that we might be able to escape the pests that love strawberries by utilising the poly tunnel.


I'll bend another branch down and peg it with a label so I mind it's for you

Strawberries need good airflow or they end up rotted with mould I found. I don't even think about growing them in the greenhouse.
Tell you though, if you have a good sized windowsill and don't mind the window cracked open on hot days, the strawberry makes a quite lovely houseplant and no damned slugs

M
Mo

Talking air flow in polytunnels - we grew strawberries in hanging baskets in our polytunnel and they did well - easy to find the runners too ;)
Toddy

…and still no damned slugs

M
bodger

Our son bought us some 'Allgold' raspberry canes from the garden centre today. They are described as autumn fruiters and producers of yellow fruit.
The gift has come a bit early for us, because we're yet to decide where our soft fruit garden is going to go.
Toddy

Now that's a thoughtful present  

The thing with rasps is though that once you've got them in, they'll take off, and they're easy enough to lift if you've got it wrong. They're also easy enough to root to increase stock too

They grow wild here under the smaller trees along lane paths. Usually have to check those ones for the wee white worms though.

Beautiful sweet fruits

M
Mo

bodger wrote:
Our son bought us some 'Allgold' raspberry canes from the garden centre today. They are described as autumn fruiters and producers of yellow fruit.
The gift has come a bit early for us, because we're yet to decide where our soft fruit garden is going to go.


Tell me about it - we brought soft fruits with us and they are still living in pots waiting to find their 'home'.
brewer66

Like Mo I have strawberry baskets in the tunnel. This is the 2nd year and they have been great.    
bodger

As soon as I feel up to things, I want to get our new soft fruit patch up and running.
Last week, my son bought me some 'past their sell date' plants from the large store that he works in. He paid 50p a piece for Black, White and Red currants and also got me some gooseberries and blueberries.
Rena

Nice one, bodger!!

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