GARDENING: A good year for strawberries

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IT looks like an even better year for strawberries than last year.

I had my doubts about giving over a full 1x2m raised bed to them, but it seems to have worked out

fine.

There’s so little room for conventional vegetable beds ­ only five 1x2m plots.

I’ve now had the sense to concentrate on growing things that are expensive in the shops and that I

actually buy, so it’s a real money saver.

It’s very easy to grow stuff you don’t eat or like.

I haven’t got a clue what varieties I have, as I was given a load of runners from my sister­in­law’s

allotment. They taste great and that’s all that matters.

The plants are also really packed in ­ this does mean extra watering and feeding, but the berries are

protected from bad weather by the leaf canopy and are harder for birds to detect.

A word of caution ­ my mam has strawberries in her back yard ­ and a pair of blackbirds nesting

nearby.

They’ve decimated her crop, so don’t hesitate to net securely if there’s a hint of thievery.

The planting of four gooseberries in the bed (spiny ones) has deterred birds and the plants are

finally at their peak, producing lots of berries.

There’s also a few plants at the front of the long border, where they are hidden from the birds’

prying eyes ­ I haven’t had to net anything ­ yet. Famous last words...