Taste Test

014This is a serious taste test comparing a traditional everbearing Strawberry (variety unknown) and a Framberry, a cross between a strawberry and a raspberry which I was sent in December 2012 by Spalding Plants and Bulbs to grow and review. It has been a good year for soft fruit and each variety has produced heavy crops of berries. This morning I picked four of each for the taste test and with my notebook to hand the test was carried out in the time honoured fashion. And the result…?016

Delicious!

Germinating Strawberries

When I finally got down to sowing the Toscana F1 strawberries from DT Brown, I read a few reviews and blog items and it seemed that germination was a bit tricky, particularly at this time of year, even in a propagator. However, I came across a “surefire” way of getting the pesky little seeds to germinate on an american homemade youtube video which looked promising so I decided to give it a try and……………….it worked!014

A week after placing the tiny seeds on damp kitchen paper sealed inside a ziplock plastic bag kept in a warm, light place, seven out of ten have germinated. I am not bothered about the others at the moment, experience has shown they can be erratic so they can stay in the bag a bit longer.

In the meantime, I have just carefully transferred the seedlings by toothpick into a pot of sieved seed compost. Fingers crossed!012

 

Turn up the heat – the response!

Had a lovely reply from DT Brown today, it went as follows:

Dear Mr Simpson,                                                                                                                 I’m down on my knees, how silly of us, 200 degrees!                                                         Was it the printer or was it just missed                                                                                   It could be the designer who had a slight lisp.                                                                       Your email has given us all a big laugh and therefore I  say on all our behalf               However it happened we really are sorry                                                                             And am sending a packet that will cost you no lolly.

Regards                                                                                                                              Deb Nicholls

It just goes to show that even in big business there is a place for humour and time to have a laugh!

Thanks Deb. You made my day!

Turn up the heat!

ToscanaJust received these seeds from DT Brown. Was about to sow them and suddenly noticed the germination temperature! Thought I would ask their advice so I sent them the following:

I bought some ‘Toscana’ strawberry seeds,                                                                            I thought I would try something quirky,                                                                                     I looked forward to a summer of delicious soft fruit,                                                           And went to the greenhouse all perky.

But when I read the sowing instructions,                                                                                In despair I sank to my knees,                                                                                                 It said that in order to germinate,                                                                                           They need a temperature of 200 degrees!

Oh Mr Brown, I am now in a pickle,                                                                                          I don’t know what I should try,                                                                                               I’ve turned the knob as far as I can,                                                                                      But my propagator won’t go up that high!

Perhaps it’s a typo that nobody spotted,                                                                                 It can sometimes happen you know,                                                                                     Or maybe it’s true and these special seeds,                                                                           Need roasting to get them to grow!   

So please Mr Brown let me know what to do,                                                                      I’ve tried but I can’t raise that heat,                                                                                           If there’s something to try, apart from the oven,                                                                     Your wisdom would go down a treat!