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Author Topic: Strawberries for a polytunnel?  (Read 534 times)

Possum

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • Somerset
Strawberries for a polytunnel?
« on: October 18, 2019, 09:57:15 am »
We thought our polytunnel would produce lots of early strawberries so planted about 20 plants three years ago. We got lots of fruit in the first year but, since then, the plants have produced lots of leaves but very little fruit. Is there a special technique to growing them in a polytunnel or have we just put in the wrong variety?


Which varieties have other people had success with?
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sandspider

  • Joined Aug 2015
  • Bristol
Re: Strawberries for a polytunnel?
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2019, 10:16:08 am »
Have you fed or fertilised them at all? Is your soil nice and nourishing?

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Strawberries for a polytunnel?
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2019, 10:56:35 am »
The first and second years are the best for fruit, if the soil is good, then the plants are effectively spent and need replacing. We take all the shoots off the first year but in the second some are allowed to grow into pots. The original plants are then taken out and replaced with the new ones. I doubt it is a problem with your variety- more likely their age and the condition of the soil. They do need a lot of water and we use a liquid feed as well.


We have found strawberries are very time consuming to cultivate and this year will be our last. Slugs, snails and field voles eat more fruit than we do!

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Strawberries for a polytunnel?
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2019, 12:50:15 pm »
The first and second years are the best for fruit, if the soil is good, then the plants are effectively spent and need replacing. We take all the shoots off the first year but in the second some are allowed to grow into pots. The original plants are then taken out and replaced with the new ones. I doubt it is a problem with your variety- more likely their age and the condition of the soil. They do need a lot of water and we use a liquid feed as well.


We have found strawberries are very time consuming to cultivate and this year will be our last. Slugs, snails and field voles eat more fruit than we do!
Totally same here! I think on the continent strawberries are treated as a bi-annual crop, and also my mum would buy new plants every three years or so, as they do tend to get viruses, so fresh stock every so often necessary.
And yes, we gave up growing our own as well (though a few pots are still in the polytunnel), but we do have a very local fruit farm just 5 miles down the road... so a big expedition once or twice in the summer, and all the fruit we need frozen for winter jam making sessions...
Also in the polytunnel you find that a) strawberries may flower bit earlier and b) your pollinating insects may not be as plentiful as outside...

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Strawberries for a polytunnel?
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2019, 01:24:35 pm »
I agree with what has been said so far - add a good fertile mulch each winter, after cutting foliage back, change your plants each 2 or 3 years, and plant them in a different place, make sure your louvres are kept open in the day so pollinators can get in and keep the plants thoroughly watered.  If it's too cold for insects, then do the pollinating yourself using a soft paintbrush.
Polytunnel soil seems to become less fertile quite quickly, so do top it up every year from the compost or manure heap.  Watch out for foraging rodents.
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Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Strawberries for a polytunnel?
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2019, 05:23:09 pm »
  Watch out for foraging rodents.
... and molluscs, and birds.... or the dog....

DavidandCollette

  • Joined Dec 2012
Re: Strawberries for a polytunnel?
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2019, 05:38:01 pm »
We planted ours in down pipe with hole cut in so that they could be suspended from the crop bars. This keeps all the nasties off, but they do need plenty of feed. Take the new plants off and grow them in pots ready for the next season. Ditch the
e Old ones after 3 years

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Strawberries for a polytunnel?
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2019, 11:20:04 am »
As above the reason for changing plants out & where they are grown is because of strawberry saw fly .. it eats the roots of the plant & is quick to infest the plants roots & the soil they grow in . .

Strawb's  are a crop that produces best fruit in the second year when sown from seed . In the first year  cut the greenery back to a few inches high when the first flush of flowers has appeared .
 
In East Anglia the farmers used virgin ground ( no strawbs  grown in or close to it in seven years to starve out any sawfly grubs .
 
 You'd come across an acre or so strip  growing up plug grown strawberry plants . they were not allowed to go into full flower before the farmer ran a grass topper over them to take the plants back down to 2 to 3 inches high

Come late September time of that year the  plants were usually lifted , split into three new plants and replanted out . Next early March they were lifted and stored in potato crates inside a fridge body where the temp got dropped to 0 oC for a few days  this puts the plant in a dormant state . 
They were then taken out for 24 hrs to wake them as if they were well in to their second year & planted out in different ground & got a hair cut early on , the next set of flowers gave prolific fruit a few months later . 

I only have four tubs of strawberries each with three plants in them .
When they stop giving fruit in a few weeks time  I'll take them outthe glasshouse  empty the tubs , wash & sterilise the tubs , wash the plants in clean water  , break off all new growth with a little bit of hair root on it if possible , dip it in rooting compound  and plant them in the tubs that have been refilled with a clean new compost charge .
 Early next year when they have started to flower I'll give them a secateurs type hair cut to let the roots develop better & feed them with tomato feed .

As it starts to get warmer I'll put them on a fine misting watering system  for 3 min every 24 hrs & as it heats up to summer ( hopeful?) they'll get put on to 3 min every 12 hours & be fed once every 7 days with a pint of tomato feed poured in the tub top and again fed from a trigger pack to give a foliar feed every week at the same time as well .
 
 This year will be the fourth year of me taking cuttings & growing them up in the glasshouse .
 The original plants were grown from seed  harvested from a single Cambridge Favourite supermarket strawberry. 
 The old plants get dried & burnt ….. not composted , the  spent " VERVE ( B&Q) " compost goes on the veg & flower beds .
« Last Edit: November 15, 2019, 11:26:41 am by cloddopper »
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