This year my strawberries were mostly deformed. They are growing in three different areas and were normal last year. I wonder if it could be because there are almost no honey or bumble bees in my garden? What else could be the trouble?
Rest assured, there is definitely pollination taking place in your garden, otherwise you would have no fruit at all.
There are a few possible causes for your misshapen strawberries. Firstly, it could be that the plant was of poor quality when planted or hasn’t grown exceptionally well. This may be due to a nutritional factor. Whilst strawberries are not gross feeders, they do need side dressing with a good quality strawberry fertiliser like Daltons Incredible Edible Strawberry Fertiliser during the months of November and December.
Second and probably the main reason for your poor crops could be because the plant has dried out during the growing season. If this has happened, it will then tend to produce smaller and unusually formed fruit.
Another factor to consider is that the plants could now be too old. Any plants older than two years tend to have smaller strawberries and quite often misshapen fruit. Finally, it may be possible that there has been spray damage to your strawberry plants, so check there has been no herbicide applied in the vicinity of your strawberry beds, as plants are highly susceptible to spray drift.
To overcome these problems in the future, it is worth removing all strawberry plants and prepare the soil well by adding compost into the existing bed (you can also add Daltons Strawberry mix to give the soil a boost). Then plant new strawberries as they come onto the market; anytime from may onwards.