The first part of this week has given us some beautiful Autumnal weather, and never being ones to waste such a golden opportunity we decided to take advantage and plant some new strawberries.
To keep both the quality and quantity of our fresh fruit (and therefore our lovely natural fruit wine) as high as possible we often plough up old beds of strawberries and plant some new varieties. This year we have bought 5000 plants of two varieties that we haven’t grown on the farm before: elegance and sweetheart. Both of them look a healthy plant though they are very different in foliage colour.
Yesterday saw the team out with the tractor and mechanised strawberry planter: an ingenious contraption that allows two people to sit on the back and feed each strawberry plant into the ground via a “grabber”. You have to be quick or you miss a “grabber” and there is a plant missing in the field! For this reason we generally have a “filler” who follows on behind to add in missing plants or right those which have been planted upside down (it does happen in the heat of the moment).
As we have two varieties planted in the same field it was a more tricky operation than most as at the half-way stage we had to stop and swap varieties before heading on up the field.
As you can see from the attached photo the field looked very neat once we had finished our endeavours!
Today’s bout of rain will help to compact the soil around our new planting, and give the dry roots some much needed moisture. Hopefully the weather the continue to be kind to allow our little plants chance to establish themselves before the worst of the winter arrives.
Next summer should see the first fruits appearing on our new plants although it will take a few years before they are at full fruiting capacity.