Love Fresh Berries: Ask a Grower series
At the end of July, right at the peak of the outdoor tunnel strawberry crop, our chief grower Ilja featured in Love Fresh Berries campaign #askagrower. Love Fresh Berries is the consumer campaign for British Summer Fruits, which is our industry body for berries in the UK. This was the first time they have used social media to promote behind the scenes with member growers and Ilja was first to feature on their Instagram stories.
Following a visit to the farm and a tour of the tunnels, Ilja was busy answering all strawberry related questions for the #askthegrowerseries, where followers on Instagram and Twitter could send in their questions on all things berries.
You can see the answers to the questions over on Love Fresh Berries Instagram – checking out their Ask a Grower stories highlight and here’s a quick peak behind the scenes with Ilja and a few answers to questions that were sent in
Q. Can you grow strawberries by planting a shop bought strawberry?
A. No you can’t grow strawberries in this way, it’s impossible
Q. Do you grow your strawberries from seeds?
A. No you don’t grow from seeds but you grow from runners; these grow at the same time as strawberries and are good to create new plants with. We receive plants in an early state from propagators who prepare different varieties and we plant them out when it is the right conditions
Q. How do you decide what varieties are you are going to grow?
A. Every year we have trials based assessing quality, yield and taste and suitability to pick, ease of harvest etc and we then choose what new varieties to progress with
Q. What is the hardest thing about growing strawberries?
A. Environmental control can be difficult. Glasshouses have the best control as you can control ventilation, heating and CO2 – polytunnels is mostly just ventilation and protect from the rain
Q. What are polytunnels and why do you use them?
A. Polytunnels are different constructions that help to protect strawberries from different weather conditions
Here’s what Ilja had to say about the outdoor tunnel crop this summer:
"The tunnels crop is doing really well this year. We already get 600g per plant which means if we carry on as normal, we have big chance to get about 1200 g per plant - 20% above our budget
Both varieties (Favori and Murano) are very similar with yield but Favori as always have a longer gap between 2 flushes. All fruits have very good brix and minimum disease." Ilja Pavlov, Berries Direct
We just hope the hot weather we have experienced lately hasn't been too hot for our precious 🍓 plants!