Thoughts and musings
Lewis | March 24, 2015 | 1 Comments
Alas, no! Unless you have a dairy farm, you may have to pop to the shop to pick up some single or double cream, whatever your preference is. But for what is the cream for, you may ask? Well, courtesy of TV gardener James Wong in an article for The Telegraph, we are going to guide you through the process of growing your own strawberries! This sounds like a dream for a number of people, as I have never met a person who didn’t like strawberries. Except for a few who were allergic…the point is, they’re delicious, and very popular! Who knows how many bowls of strawberries and cream are devoured every year during Wimbledon?! It will also come as a surprise to a lot of you that, according to Mr Wong, growing them yourself is actually relatively easy. Don’t believe me? Read on for a few of the tips, and see for yourself.
A key element, or to be more precise the most important factor in whether a strawberry is flavoursome or not is the amount of sunlight it receives. So much so, research has revealed that if one strawberry is starved of half the amount of sunlight than another strawberry has, then the flavoursome of the first strawberry would literally be halved. Also, that is even before the sweetness of the strawberry is mentioned, which is severely affected by a lack of sunlight. Therefore, even though the sunniest parts of your garden will always be in demand, you will reap the rewards if your strawberries are allowed to bask there!
This is the strangest-sounding tip offered by Mr Wong, in my opinion! I was initially taken aback. But it is backed up by studies; a university in the USA demonstrated that strawberries were sweeter, more aromatic, and even 20% bigger, when they were grown through a red plastic mulch. A higher Vitamin C content was also found. The reasons behind this, according to the researchers, was that the invisible spectrum of red light reflecting off the mulch copied or mimicked the light reflected by neighbouring plants. This would make the strawberries feel threatened from ‘competition’, responding by increasing their defences to focus energies into producing bigger fruit. Plants are living things, too, and genius ones at that!
Studies from those across the Irish Sea have shown that strawberries in acidic soil, with a high potassium content yield, led to fruit with better flavour. Even if the area you live in doesn’t contain acidic soil, you can plant your strawberries in organic matter and compost.
It may seem obvious, but do make sure you pick your strawberries at the right time! The intensity of the flavour of a strawberry is directly related to its ripeness. So if you really want the tastiest strawberries, which everyone does, harvest them on sunny and dry afternoons when levels of sugar in the plant are are their highest, and water levels are at their lowest. This means a more concentrated strawberry, but the key to achieving this is patience. Don’t be too eager and you’ll be enjoying the benefits in no time.
There are other tips outlined by Mr Wong to help go that extra mile in achieving tastier strawberries. These include spraying your plants with comfrey liquid, planting them in raised beds, growing organically, and waiting four days to eat them after they are picked! You can see his explanations for these methods by clicking here to view the original article.
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