Tennis isn't everyone's cup of tea especially when for a fortnight it's impossible to get away from the sound of ball on racquet. However, one delicious advantageous of Wimbledon fully appreciated by Martyn Loach is strawberries and cream.
You don't have to go to south west London for a punnet, they are an easy crop to grow and can be eaten immediately or used to make jam to spread on your toast when summer is just a memory.
Summer fruiting varieties crop from June until late in July. 'Darlisette' and 'Sallybright' are tasty earlies together with 'Rosie' which has an impressive yield; 'Sonata' is a bit later with 'Amelia' that tastes great but can crop poorly, 'Elsanta' is a reliable cropper with good flavour. Of the late strawberries, the juicy dark red 'Malwina' might be a winner.
Very suitable for our climate especially especially if you have slightly acid soil, strawberries enjoy a sunny position in moisture retentive soil that is rich in organic matter and has good drainage. Buy several varieties to spread the harvest over maximum period of time and plant in the late summer about 2ft apart in rows that have 18ins between them, watering thoroughly.
The crown of each plant should be at the same level of the soil, and planting through black plastic suppresses weeds and helps with water retention. When flowers appear, feed with tomato fertilizer and keep well watered.
Protection and Propagation
Early cropping can be encouraged by covering the plants with a cloche and, to protect the fruit against slugs, birds and other damage, mulch underneath each plant with straw and cover with netting.
Propagate new plants by pinning runners from the main plant into a compost filled pot. After cropping, use shears to cut the plants to within 1in of the crown and remove any runners that aren't required..
Plants generally crop well for about three years, then buy new ones or use the plants that have been propagated, but move to a new location to prevent the spread of disease.