Strawberries

Strawberries taste great and are easy to grow.

Over the years growers have bred strawberries to produce a good range of plants that yield larger crops. Victoria produces the bulk of Australia’s strawberry crops, with the main growing areas being Silvan and the surrounding Dandenong Ranges. Below are four good varieties of the many types available.

Varieties

RED GAUNTLET

This is the most popular commercial variety, which originated from Scotland and is known for its high yield.

The crop is usually heavy and picking extends for a long period of time. The fruit is pink and tart and the size of the berry becomes gradually smaller throughout the season.

TIOGA

This plant has good coloured fruit and flavour. It grows in a large clump and it’s aspiring crop lasting a couple of months and producing a good second season. High PH soil should be avoided for this variety.

TRISTAR

These are a sweet tasting vigorous growing plant. The berries should be left on the plant as long as possible for better flavour and colour. You can expect one punnet of berries per plant per season. Berries are produced from spring to summer with the berries becoming smaller throughout the season.

TORREY

This plant produces berries that are light in colour. It is an upright growing plant with good crop potential in early spring and summer, usually producing a high percentage of large and medium sized fruit.

PLANTING AND POSITIONING

The plants should be planted from May to July, in raised beds approx. 35cm’s apart. Strawberries need to have quite good drainage to ensure against root damage.

The plants should be watered regularly in warm weather to stop the fruit “cooking”, under watering will produce cracked berries. They also need protection from frost and hot winds in the summer. This can easily be done with plastic or hessian, which also helps to protect against birds.

Make sure the soil in which the strawberries are planted has not previously been used for tomatoes or potatoes as sometimes they leave a disease in the ground called Verticillum Wilt.

When planting consider the position as this can affect the timing of your fruit. For example north-easterly positions are good for early ripening whereas a southerly position encourages late seasoned fruit.