Game, set and match to Covid-19

West Sussex County Times - - Opinion -

Af­ter the lovely hot June days of last week, the weather has now changed to cold, wet and windy days. Of course in nor­mal times, this week would have seen the start of Wim­ble­don fort­night. I have no­ticed through the years this in­clement weather seems to come with the lawn ten­nis cham­pi­onships.

Last year 27 tons of straw­ber­ries were con­sumed by the spec­ta­tors while watch­ing the ten­nis.

With the loss of the tour­na­ment this year the poor straw­berry farm­ers are go­ing to suf­fer a huge loss in prof­its.

Straw­ber­ries in the su­per­mar­kets seem to be get­ting much larger this year, but un­for­tu­nately the quest for size seems to be at the detri­ment of the taste. I still think the sweet­est of all straw­ber­ries are the old fash­ioned va­ri­ety Royal Sov­er­eign.

They are much smaller than mod­ern va­ri­eties but they have a re­ally sweet flavour and the smell from a pun­net when picked fills the room.

Straw­ber­ries prob­a­bly give you the quick­est re­turn of all fruits. Straw­ber­ries planted out in late sum­mer will start pro­duc­ing fruit the fol­low­ing sum­mer.

To make a straw­berry patch I find it is best to buy about ten plants in late July to mid Au­gust.

Dig a hole about two inches deeper and wider than the plant mak­ing sure you spread the roots out and back fill the hole and water in well.

Leave a space of about two feet and plant the next one. Con­tinue this process un­til you come to the end of your row. By late May you will see the white flow­ers ap­pear.

At this point you need to buy a cou­ple of bags of straw and lay the straw as tight as you can around the plant, mak­ing sure the flow­ers are lay­ing on the top.

At the same time it is a good idea to pur­chase a net to put over your straw­ber­ries. The birds en­joy them as much as the ten­nis fans.

By early to mid June you should find the red berries are ready to pick. Once you have har­vested the last of the fruits, rake up the straw and burn it. Lightly fork over the ground around the plants and within a few weeks you will start to see the plants send out run­ners.

As the run­ners grow they will pro­duce baby straw­berry plants. Get a piece of bent wire, (old metal coat hang­ers cut up are ideal) peg the run­ner down as close as you can to the new plant, keep the soil moist and you should soon have a crop of new plants.

Af­ter a few weeks the young plant should be strong enough to cut from the run­ner and be planted out. Try and get at least 10 new plants to form an­other row, plant it about three feet from the orig­i­nal row. Re­peat this process each year un­til you have four rows.

Straw­ber­ries pro­duce the best fruit in years two and three. Af­ter four years of plant­ing out the new plants from the run­ners, I tend to dig up the four-year-old plants and re­place them with a new row.

Af­ter four years of plant­ing new plants from their run­ners you should have a well es­tab­lished straw­berry bed. Good luck.

Straw­ber­ries planted out in late sum­mer will start pro­duc­ing fruit the fol­low­ing sum­mer

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.