Short-day varieties were the traditional plant types grown in the UK, cropping in May, June and July. Find out about how and when they flower and fruit.
Varieties that are part of the traditional main season are all short-day varieties.
These are plants that initiate flowers in response to shortening day length, which in the UK occurs from late July onwards.
As they crop in the main season, they are often termed ‘mainseason’ or ‘Junebearer’ varieties in the UK.
Most of these varieties initiate flowers in August and September and carry flower initials over the winter.
Flower trusses then develop during the spring, producing fruit in the spring and summer months.
The cropping season of these varieties can be manipulated through cold-storing the plants after they have initiated flowers.
If plants are lifted from the soil or propagation substrate during the dormant period, they can be held in cold store at -1.6°C for several months before being planted out again.
When planted out during the growing season they will grow and develop flowers and fruit, with picking starting on average some 60 days after planting.
This enables growers to plant on specific dates to programme the crop to start harvest at a required period approximately 60 days later.
This technique has become known as 60-day cropping. Some varieties respond well to this system of cropping and produce high yields (eg Elsanta and Sonata), whilst others respond poorly and are best established in different ways.
Scott Raffle, AHDB, Robert Irving, ADAS and Graham Moore, FAST Ltd