A couple of times now I have received emails from customers who are disappointed with the taste of alpine strawberries. In both cases they are growing in containers.
I have experienced the same disappointment at times when growing in containers. And, it doesn’t apply to alpines only. My first experience with ‘Mara des Bois’ was with fruit growing in containers and I was disappointed in the taste.
Since then I’ve done a bit of research online and found that nutrition can be one factor contributing to disappointing taste. Garden soil has nutrients that soil mixes that one buys does not. It is difficult to duplicate garden soil. The closest I’ve come is to use vermicompost. An analysis of vermicompost reveals many minor nutrients besides the normal N-P-K. It seems that we focus on those three key nutrients and forget about the other requirements that plants have.
I’ll conclude this with a quick story. My first experience with nutrient deficiencies was over 20 years ago when I was growing strawberries, including alpines, in a greenhouse. I was growing them in vertical 6″ tubes with a soiless mix. I was irrigating with fertilizer. Most of the plants were not producing well and the leaves were necrotic. I got the local county agent to come out who was experienced with strawberries. One look and he knew that they were being deprived of boron. I bought a small quantity of micronutrients with added boron and the problem readily cleared up.