There is no such thing as too many strawberries – well we say that now, but when strawberry world is functioning at peak capacity , might we change our tune?
Last summer James and Henry built a massive fruit cage over my vegetable garden – see here.
Over the winter as we have eaten the vegetables, I have slowly dug up all the existing fruit bushes, raspberry canes and strawberry plants. I moved the autumn raspberries and gooseberries to a new patch by the side of the house.
The strawberries sat in growbags until James finished strawberry world. Once he had finished I slowly started filling the gutters up. We have decided to experiment with growing strawberries (and other plants) vertically – in gutters.
It makes good use of the space and should reduce the need for weeding – we will see how successful this crazy idea will be. To be fair since building it we have heard from other people who are growing strawberries in a similar manner.
Possibly the rows of strawberries could have been closer together but I am planning on growing courgettes in growbags between the rows. I basically transplanted a lot of strawberry runners and some more mature plants. I wasn’t sure if they would make it, but most seem fine
They have even started to flower
We are going to put in a watering system, as they dry out quickly. And I will make sure there are enough nutrients by feeding them with worm juice from our wormery and adding alpaca poo as well.
To the west side of the fruit cage we have currant city and some summer fruiting raspberries.
I replanted the old bushes from my previous fruit cage and gathered together all the cuttings that Nathan and Christine had given me from their allotment plot – over the years these tiny cuttings have grown into substantial bushes – not large yet, but finally they have room to grow.
The summer fruiting raspberries are planted in a line and mulched with poo and old hay. I still need to build them some supports to tie them into.
There is weedblock all around the bushes and thanks to the help of Henry, James and Jim they are now surrounded by chipped wood as a mulch. Before I mulched them though I added homemade compost and alpaca poo. You can just see my little fig trees in the foreground – thanks Christine and Nathan.
Meanwhile in the centre am still thinking about what fruit to grow so while waiting I have put black plastic down to kill weeds and I am currently growing peas, mangetout and broadbeans. Actually as James built me some nice climbing fencing for the peas I might always grow them here – safe from the birds.
I have also planted some telephone peas that will apparently grow to 10foot high. I might add purple sprouting broccoli later in the year.
N.B. Not all the gutters are full of strawberries yet – as I get more runners this year I will add them to the gutters. In the meantime I am growing radishes, lettuces, broad beans and dwarf peas in the gutters – it’s a bit of an experiment!