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Garden Smallholding Blog

Blogging about growing fruit, vegetables and herbs and keeping chickens and ducks.
Tags >> Pineberry/White Strawberry

Picking the Pineberries!

Posted by: admin

I have waited just over a year to be able to post this - I have just picked my first pineberries!

They are smaller than I expected - roughly the same size as my thumbnail. You can get a better idea of their size by looking at my previous posts at http://www.gardensmallholding.co.uk/blogs/tags/PineberryWhite-Strawberry/

I was looking at them this morning and realised that one had started to go mouldy - its seeds were red and it had a pinkish hue to its flesh. I had been holding out on picking them as I was hoping that they would grow slightly larger. Unfortunately this was not going to happen, and the pineberry that has gone mouldly was extremely ripe. I have now picked the ones that appear ripe - seven in total. There are another couple to pick, but they are not quite ready. 

They smell like a mixture of strawberry and pineapple, and taste the same. They are sweet and very soft, the taste is not at all strong. But they are extremely nice, and if I had enough of them, I could easily make myself sick on them!

I have saved the remainder for my family for when they get back from school/work, and will post the verdicts on here.

Now I have the a large number of plants, in the best location, I have high hopes for next years crop! The most important thing I have learned is to make sure that pollinators such as bees are able to get access to the flowers. I had made the mistake of keeping the pineberry plants in a greenhouse that was pretty inaccessible to insects - I feel like a complete idiot!

Freshly picked pineberries from my garden!

 


I have mentioned previously that I have handed out lots of pineberry plants to friends and relatives because the plants I originally got have put out so many runners. The rate at which they reproduce is incredible.

I would approximate that 80% of plants I have supplied have not produced fruit. I would like to think that next year things will be better.


 

Anyone that has read the Pineberry part of my blog previously will know that I only got them (the Pineberry plants)  last year when they first became available and that I was completely ignorant to them. It may also be apparent that I am becoming slightly obsessed by them too....

 

If I am completely honest, I am a bit of a useless ass in the garden. The only thing that I am completely comfortable with growing is Raspberries and Blueberries.

 

Last year, which was my first year, I got absolutely no fruit from the first pineberry plant whatsoever. Throughout last year and earlier this year, I grew lots of runners from the initial plant and kept them potted in the greenhouse.

 

This year, I have blogged describing the way that the plants have flowered, but not set fruit out. I have tried manually pollinating the flowers with a paint brush - see Pollinating Pineberry Plants , and then moving the plants from pots in the greenhouse to the earth in the polytunnel (We had to reclaim the polytunnel back from the ducks and chickens a week after the fence fire back in April andIs The Pollination Paying Off? )

 

It looks like the Pineberry plants have really thrived since being transferred to the polytunnel. It appears a mixture of home produced compost, rotted horse manure and a liberal sprinkling of chicken and duck poo has helped them on their way.

 

The pictures below give you an idea as to where the plants are up to.

 

To catch up to all posts relating to pineberries, click on the following:  pineberry/white strawberry and you will get the list.

 

Fruiting pineberry in polytunnel


Fruiting pineberry in polytunnel


Is The Pollination Paying Off?

Posted by: admin

Late last month I detailed how I manually pollinated my Pineberry plants (see Pollinating Pineberry Plants). The latest picture of the most advanced plant is shown immediately below the text. You can see the flowers to the left and top of the picture are setting out fruit, but the ones to the bottom and right are shrivelling up, and based on previous experience will amount to nothing.

Shortly after this pic was taken, we reclaimed the polytunnel back from the ducks and chickens with the aim of reclaiming the tunnel to grow things in - rather than it being an extension of their run. The idea was to then extend the chicken and duck run into a flower bed that houses a lot of large shrubs, most of them were not visible from the rest of the garden, so the space was effectively wasted.

We emptied the contents of the fire damaged compost bin (see How The Fence Caught Fire - we think!) into the polytunnel and gave the ducks and chickens a couple of days to scratch around in the compost before sending them back to their run and preventing them accessing the polytunnel again.  The time that the ducks and chickens spent in there paid off - they did a really good job of mixing the compost in with the rest of the soil in the polytunnel. We still had to dig it over, but they really did help matters.

We then planted the Pineberry plants in the polytunnel, along with a couple of squashes, various chillis, and half a dozen different tomato plants kindly donated by my mother outlaw. The second and third pictures show either side of the polytunnel. The second is the left hand side and to the far left are various types of tomato, and the row in front is the pineberry plants - not bad bearing in mind I was only given one plant a year ago! And I have given loads of them away too! 

The third picture is the right hand side of the polytunnel - farthest away are a couple of squashes, followed by various types of chilli, with a basil plant thrown in, and then a couple of strawberries.

Fruiting pineberry plant in pots in greenhouse

Tomatoes and pineberry plants in polytunnel

Squashes and various chillis in polytunnel


Pollinating Pineberry Plants

Posted by: admin

Last year I got poor results with my Pineberries, and I think that pollination may have been part of the problem. It looks like the same problem may be happening again this year - the lack of insects/breeze in the greenhouse is likely to be to blame.

Pineberries are like Strawberries - they are self-fertile. The Pineberry flower contains the reproductive system of the plant. They will usually pollinate themselves but normally need help from the wind, or bees etc. Have a look at the picture below - pollination occurs when pollen is transferred from the stamens, which are the male parts of the flowers, to the stigma (centre), which is the female, receptive part of the anatomy.

Picture of pineberry showing the stamen

Year on year, I seem to be seeing less bees in the garden, which is an obvious concern - bees are so important in pollination. Another thing that doesn't help is that all of my Pineberries are in the greenhouse. I leave the door and roof vents open to allow the pollinators in. So, the pollination situation is not the best, and could use a helping hand.

Today, I have taken a small artists brush and brushed from the outside of the Pineberry flower and inwards using a number of short and gentle strokes. Within a couple of days, the flower will start to wilt - this indicates that the pollen has been transferred from the stamen to the stigma, and that pollination - i.e. fertillisation has taken place.


Pineberry Progress

Posted by: admin

The Pineberries continue to thrive thanks to the recent warm weather, the plant that originally flowered now has even more flowers, see below;

Flowering Pineberry

 


Pineberries Doing Well

Posted by: admin

You may remember last year, Mum bought a pair of Pineberries and gave me one of them. Pretty soon it produced runners, and knowing that the original plant was expensive, it seemed worth potting as many of these runners as possible. Links to my previous blog posts are below;


The original pineberry has been kept in the greenhouse since shortly after I got it. The greenhouse isn't a requirement, my Mum's pineberry has been kept outside and it doesn't appear to have suffered any, despite the snow we have experienced. I think Pineberries are every bit as resilient as a strawberry plant. My pineberry runners were all potted into standard multipurpose compost whilst still attached to the parent plant, they were well watered in the warm months and have been kept in the greenhouse. Over the winter months, I watered sparingly once or twice a month. I only cut the runners off from the parent plant a couple of weeks ago, and then took the opportunity to repot all of the plants, again, in the same multipurpose compost.

Something that started to become a problem during the middle of last year was aphids and whitefly, my original post about this is below;
I managed to pick the aphids off by hand, but the whitefly needed some chemical assistance in the form of bug clear - see the image below, if you click on it, I have uploaded a hi-res image that will display so that you can read the full instructions.

Simply following the instructions seemed sufficient to kill the whitefly, and the plants looked a lot healthier shortly afterwards.

Earlier this week (Tuesday 03/04/12 to be exact), I watered the plants in the greenhouse and noticed that one of the pineberries was flowering, see below:


Potting More Pineberry Runners

Posted by: admin

As it appears I may have missed the pineberry fruiting season - see Lack Of Fruit On Pineberry Explained, and that the plant is throwing out lots of runners, I have set about planting them. From reading about the pineberry, it appears that it yields smaller and fewer fruit than a strawberry, so it makes perfect sense to grow a lot of them in time for next year.

growing pineberry runners


 

I have been moaning about the lack of fruit on my Pineberry - I think I have figured out what the problem may be.

I first got them around the 15th May this year, I took pictures and uploaded them on my blog post of 20th May - see Pineberry / Pineberries. As you can see from the pictures on this post, they are in flower, although the fruit never really developed. Just search Pineberry from the menu on the left or by tag, and you will see a number of posts that show how things panned out. I have searched a few sites as to what the problem is with the lack of fruit, and there is very little information on these plants. I assumed that they would be the same as strawberries, except with smaller and less numerous fruit. I stumbled across the following from the Waitrose Press Centre - they stocked  punnets of Pineberries for the first time last year, and have the exclusive on these fruit this year. The press release was dated 30th March this year, one quote that interested was;

Waitrose is the only supermarket to sell pineberries in the UK. They will be available in 45 stores nationwide for the next five weeks while they are in season. 

It seems that is where the problem is. Their season may have passed, maybe it only lasts into early May, counting 5 weeks from the date of the press release. The fact that my Pineberries are sited in the greenhouse is probably serving little benefit.

As you will see from my recent posts, I am getting dozens of runners now, and I think I need to concentrate on growing as many as possible so that I am ready for next season

 For the Waitrose press release - and it is interesting reading, click http://www.waitrose.presscentre.com/Press-Releases/It-s-no-joke-Pineberries-are-back-at-Waitrose-6ec.aspx

 


Pineberry Runners Taking Nicely

Posted by: admin

I have potted four runners, there is a pot behind the mail plant that you cannot see. Still no sign of any fruit developing unfortunately......

Pineberry with planted runners


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