Extending the UK strawberry growing season using a range of plant types and growing systems
A helpful guide to how the UK strawberry season is extended using differing plant types and growing systems
This information was last updated in 2010
Season extension of strawberry under Spanish tunnels
The cropping season
In the UK, strawberries can crop from March through to December. The earliest crops are generally harvested under glass in Southern England in early April although additional heat and night-break lighting can bring crops into fruit as early as March. The season continues under closed fixed polythene tunnels, followed by field-grown crops under French and Spanish tunnels, lay-flat fleece or polythene film. The traditionally grown unprotected field crops then become available in June and July.
Extending the season beyond June/July can be achieved by employing a number of growing systems:
- Using deep straw or white on black polythene to delay the established traditional crop.
- Growing plants that have been cold-stored and which are planted and established on specific dates so that cropping is programmed to begin after the main picking season.
- Growing everbearer varieties both outdoor and under portable tunnels to extend production through the late summer into the autumn.
- Harvesting fruit from crops grown under fixed closed tunnels and glass. Fruit picking can continue under glass until December in Southern England.
Table 1 illustrates how the cropping season can be spread from March until December using different growing systems
Range of plant material and production systems used to use to extend the season
Find out about the range of plant material available to produce crops at certain times of the season.
Successful crops require careful pre- and post-planting management if you are to produce strawberries almost year-round.
Whether you're growing strawberries in tunnels or outdoors, you'll need to know the best methods to ensure the right timing of crops and to maximise yields.
Scott Raffle, AHDB, Robert Irving, ADAS and Graham Moore, FAST Ltd