Try a new, improved strawberry - Telegraph
Straw suppresses weeds and protects the ripening fruit from rot.
However, it is vital to wait until there is very little risk of frost before laying straw.
Too early and you will only succeed in making the flowers more vulnerable to frost: the straw acts as a barrier between them and the insulating effect of the soil.
Tabletop growing is a commercial technique that uses growing bags raised off the ground and fitted with automatic watering.
Use eight to 10 plants per bag, and support them on a couple of upturned packing crates. Cut a plastic water bottle in half and insert it into the compost upside down. Give a regular dose of liquid tomato feed containing seaweed extract.
Best new varieties
EARLY (pick mid-June to early July)
'Darlisette’ Which? Best Buy.
'Mae’ Very early with large fruit.
'Sallybright’ Which? Best Buy.
MID-SEASON (late June to mid-July)
'Alice’ Large fruits, sweet and crops late into season.
'Amelia’ A favourite for taste in Which? trial but very low yield.
'Elsanta’ An established Dutch variety, reliable with big fruit even in first year, widely available.
'Sonata’ Which? Best Buy, top mid-season for taste, sharp flavour.
'Sweetheart’ Heart-shaped fruit with sweet aromatic flavour, good yields.
LATE (pick early to late July)
'Cupid’ sweet, juicy fruits, good disease resistance.
'Malwina’ Which? Best Buy. Juicy with plenty of flavour, fruits very dark red, yields low.
Where to buy
DT Brown (0845 371 0532; www.dtbrownseeds.co.uk)
Dobies (0844 701 7625; www.dobies.co.uk)
Marshalls (01480 443390; www.marshalls-seeds.co.uk)
Mr Fothergill’s (0845 371 0518; www.mr-fothergills.co.uk)
Pomona Fruits (0845 676 0607; kwww.pomonafruits.co.uk)
Suttons (0844 922 0606; www.suttons.co.uk)
Thompson & Morgan (0844 248 5383; www.thompson-morgan.com)