Home' The Tribune : June 6th 2012 Contents 20 THE TRIBUNE, JUNE 6, 2012
Tides (Foxton Beach) Sun & Moon (Palmerston North)
(rise & set) Moon
(rise & set)
Periods of rain. NW, severe gale in
exposed places, dying away, and cold SE
developing late in the day, strong for a time.
© Copyright Meteorological Service of New Zealand Limited 2012
11 Jun (10:41PM)
Rain clearing in the morning, then fine
apart from evening cloud. Cold SE dying
out, NW developing.
Cloudy periods with a few showers.
Cloudy periods with a few showers.
Showers with light winds.
Fine. Light winds.
Fine with little wind.
S 4:59PM R 6:55PM
S 4:59PM R 8:05PM
S 4:59PM R 9:13PM
S 4:58PM R 10:19PM
S 4:58PM R 11:23PM
S 4:58PM R
S 4:58PM R 12:24AM
27 Jun (3:30PM)
20 Jun (3:02AM)
4 Jul (6:52AM)
For the latest weather
Tips for good strawberries
Here's how: Manawatu gardening guru Wally Richards with his own strawberry plants. He attaches troughs to a fence, so the berries grow in containers at an
Photo: MURRAY WILSON / FAIRFAX NZ
GARDEN centres in most
areas now have the new
season's strawberry plants
available for gardeners.
You may find a range of types but
likely the most common variety
found these days is Pajaro.
The NZ Berry Growers' web site
has this to say about Pajaro; Type:
Short day, General description: UC
variety. Consistently very large.
Bright red skin, light red flesh.
Exceptionally firm. Excellent
flavour when picked fully ripe but
can be insipid when picked under-
ripe. Early crops if not deflowered.
Average yields but exceptional
quality results in high export grade
It is interesting to note that about
80 per cent of the commercial
strawberries grown are Pajaro.
Pajaro is only one variety that I
have planted along with Baby Pink,
Temptation, Sundae and Supreme.
These are fairly new types and good
value to have a few plants of each
I also have the original alpine
(white strawberries) which I find
are delicious when fully ripe, even
though the berries are a bit small.
The alpine produce just about all
year long and the Pajaro crops
about November with pickings
through to about March if the
weather is not too hot and another
flush in late summer early autumn.
South Island readers are likely to
have Aptos which are; Day neutral,
General description: UC variety.
Bright, dark red. Goes very dark as
it becomes over-ripe. Size medium
to large. Plants shows potassium
deficiency symptoms, especially late
season, showing up as purple
margins on leaves. Large fruit
number per truss with last fruit
tending to be very small. Flavour
good but can be slightly astringent
in some conditions. Slightly soft.
Excellent yield. Cultural notes:
Ensure good plant size before
allowing flowers to form fruit to
minimise small size tendency.
Maintain good potassium levels late
in the season. (Fruit and Flower
Power) Difficult to produce quality
fruit on second year plants.
Sensitive to mite attack.
You are also likely to find older
varieties such as Red Gauntlet and
The Alpine strawberries are likely
to be found in herb displays. You
only need one or two plants to start
with as they self seed easily and pop
up all over. A nice ornamental plant
also for under trees and shrubs.
One of the problems with buying
strawberries from your green grocer
is that commercial strawberries are
often grown with excessive nitrogen
which means if you place them in
the fridge they go mushy in a few
Home grown strawberries, grown
correctly, do not go mushy; they
dehydrate in a fridge.
You can either grow strawberry
plants in the garden or in containers
especially longer troughs about
16cm deep. In the soil you can work
in animal manure based compost,
mixed half and half with untreated
sawdust. (Native timber is preferred
but pine will do. Strawberries are a
woodland plant and you are
providing the right micro-organisms
with the sawdust mix.)
For containers, use the above
compost and sawdust mix with a
little top soil added, about 10 per
The sooner you get your new
plants in, the better. I find that first
year plants produce reasonably if in
early (about now) where they
perform better the second year
onwards to about years 4 to 5.
They need then to be divided and
fresher plants re-planted.
I like to place a few sheep manure
pellets and some Gypsum in each
planting hole. Water in with a mix
of Mycorrcin and MBL (Magic
Botanic Liquid). Mycorrcin, which is
an organic feed for soil life, can
make a big difference to your crop
size as trials have shown a 200 to
400 per cent increase in berries and
size of berries. Then a two to four
weekly spray of the two products
will ensure greater returns and
By using these products I am able
to keep plants producing well for
about four years. Side dressings of
Fruit and Flower Power and either
sheep manure pellets or Bio Boost
gives the extra food for replacing the
original compost goodness.
Each winter, place fresh sawdust
around the plants.
If mites or aphids attack the
plants spray with Neem Tree Oil on
both sides of the foliage, late in the
day after the sun has gone off the
plants (alternative is Liquid
If conditions are damp and
botrytis is noticed, spray the plants
once a month with Perkfection.
Using the above methods from a 3
metre trough (see below) we crop
sufficient berries for eating and the
surplus, every few days, are frozen
for making real strawberry jam.
My favourite method of growing is
in a window box-type trough on the
top rail of an iron fence. If it's a
location which gets a reasonable
amount of sun the plants will do
well. I find that the plants tend to
cascade over the open side of the
trough with many of the
strawberries growing over the edge.
This makes it difficult for birds to
get the hanging berries.
To solve the bird problems a
length of Bird Repeller Ribbon
suspended between to low stakes,
the length of the row, keeps most
damage to a minimum. Place the
ribbon when the first berries are
ripening and remove once the crop
has finished for the season.
The main points to remember are
the use of sawdust or fine bark
chips, regular sprays of Mycorrcin.
If you have a gardening problem,
ring Wally Richards on 357 0606,
email firstname.lastname@example.org or
send a SAE to PO Box 489,
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