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Wood strawberries are best eaten on their own

Everyone loves homegrown strawberries. There are several different types of strawberry and many varieties within each type which differ widely in shape, colour and taste. The tiny wood strawberries (Fragaria vesca) grow wild all over Europe, they’re tiny, but they have an intense aroma. They spread by means of runners, which makes them useful ground cover plants in light shade under trees. The fruits form and ripen in June and July. They’re best eaten raw, because when you cook them the bitter substances tend to dominate the flavours.

Perpetual strawberries: fruits until December

Perpetual strawberries, such as Fragaria ananassa ostara, are cultivars from wild strawberries, but with a less intensive taste. They bear flowers and fruit throughout summer and well into the autumn, often as late as December. The fruit are medium-large and taste delicious. It’s a plant that children will enjoy growing Perpetual strawberries make delightful edge-planting for beds and grow well in pots on a balcony or patio. Alternatively they can be grown in a greenhouse and will then fruit well into winter.

Garden strawberries: a huge choice

The big, juicy garden strawberry (Fragaria ananassa) originated as a chance cross between two sorts of American wild strawberries. Popular cultivars for home gardeners are Senga Sengana and Mieze Schindler. You’ll get better harvests if you replace your plants every two to three years with new plants grown from runners. Grow lettuce, peas, beans or radishes as the precursor to strawberries.

The musk strawberry: an old cultivar

The musk strawberry (Fragaria moschata) has been around for a long time. It has a particular scent that resembles nutmeg. Musk strawberries grow best in damp and protected areas. The plants are not generally self-fertile, so you will need to plant a garden strawberry nearby. For the best harvests, the ground should be moist and fertile.

Fragaria x vescana: a hybrid

One easy-care variety for home growing is Fragaria x vescana. It’s a hybrid created by crossbreeding garden and wood strawberries. It produces a lot of runners and so it’s a popular ground cover plant for “natural” plantings, for example on slopes. These plants grow well on almost any soil, from loamy humus-rich to sandy or clay soils. The fruit have an intense aroma.

 

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de