So, we went to the Pleasantville farm this past Saturday. It's pretty cool to live in a town with an organic farm less than a 1/2 mile from our home.
They are renting out planting beds for a pretty good price. Our yard consists of 4.5' X 108' on either side of our house. The 20X14 courtyard is completely patio'd over. We don't have room for a garden.
We're going to rent a 39" X 24' bed for $200 a year and it includes irrigation and a community shed with tools. Compared to other places in the area this is a really good deal and we can't beat the convenience. The closest place we'd be able to rent a bed otherwise is at least 25 minutes away.
Since we love strawberries, we've decided it's a plant we definitely want in our beds. More to come as we decide on other plants.
I now present, The Albion Strawberry
|Formal Name||Fragaria X ananassa cv. Albion|
|Description||This neutral bearing strawberry plant provides a continuous supply of strawberries throughout the growing season. It is resistant to root rot and Verticilbium wilt. This strawberry is distinguished by its long, conical & symmetrical shape. It is known for being a firm fruit with excellent flavor.|
|Soil Requirements||Loose & loamy; Slightly acidic (pH of 6 - 6.5)|
|Water Requirements||1" of water per week (drip system preferable)|
|Height||6.5 to 8.5 inches|
|Growing Zone||3-ish year perennial through zone 5|
|Manicuring or Pruning|
Prune the runners in the first part of the growing season (These can be put in pots to root & re-plant later).
Pinch the first flowers to encourage leaf growth which leads to more fruit.
|Fertilization||Top quality compost encourages beneficial bacteria & earthworms. Fertilization beyond this is generally unnecessary.|
|Growth Cycle||Begins to fruit in June and should continue through Fall.|
|Bloom Time||Flowers shortly before first fruit|
|Maintenance Level||Constant weeding is necessary as the shallow root system does nothing to compete with weeds. Weeds can be minimized by mulching and/or straw.|
Birds love the berries and will pick them off faster than you can unless you take measures to scare the birds away. This can be done with flash tape or by simply putting bird netting over the top (recommended).
Fruit will rot when it ripens in contact with the ground because of excess moisture. Straw will help prevent the fruit from touching the ground and act as a protection from the excess moisture.
Slugs & snails are attracted to the plants. Keep them away with traps or copper strip barriers.