A little while ago I ordered some strawberry plants and raspberry canes from a company called Delbard here in France. I have been frustrated in the past buying from garden centres because they never seem to have enough of what I want and although I can order from them it involves a second trip which for us is a minumum of 30ks. The result would be six of one type of strawberry and six of another, when what I actually wanted was 20 of one type!
Ordering from Delbard seemed to be a solution and so it has proved. For a start I could buy the plants/canes bare-rooted which made them cheaper and made up for the small transport cost (six euros). The strawberries arrived a while ago and then last week the raspberries turned up. We had prepared the beds already - hard work for a couple of days with a mattock and then even harder digging out the perennial roots - and within 24 hours the raspberries were in the ground. Conveniently it rained the next day and they are looking very happy.
Bearing in mind that raspberries put out runners I decided to go for a few canes of three different varieties. Hopefully at the end of next year I will have more of each but we will see. My shopping list is as follows:
Framboise Magnific Delbard x 5 (July-August)
Framboise Himbo-Top x 3 (August-September)
Framboise September x 5 (mid-June - mid-October)
I know that most people make jam and delicious puddings with soft fruit but personally I don't. I prefer to eat fruit raw and with very few embellishments - personally I don't add sugar or cream although I realise I'm one of the few! To be honest, if I didn't have other mouths to feed none of the fruit would come into the house...my children are the same. In fact I have to hope that my children don't read this blog because one of them at least is very partial to raspberries and whilst he might not venture into that part of the garden very often he will make a bee-line if he realises that raspberries are to be found; birds are nothing compared to children when it comes to soft fruit in my opinion!
As a footnote I would like to add that from 40 strawberry plants I have had no losses. I was concerned about six/seven of them as they took a while to get going but yesterday each and every plant had healthy leaf growth and I am looking forward to a good crop next year...can't wait in fact!