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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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June bearing Strawberries

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CapeCoddess
Marc Iverson
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Post  Dawncee 3/29/2014, 11:08 am

Good morning PNW gardeners, 

I took advantage of the sunny days last week and decided to thin and transplant my strawberry plants which took over one of my 4x4 beds last year.  After I completed the task I discovered that I should have done it last summer...

My question - am I going to get strawberries this year, or have I blown it for this year?

Thanks, 
Dawn
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Post  quiltbea 3/29/2014, 12:48 pm

It depends on what year plants you removed.  If they were those that will be 3 yr old ones this year, which would be the most prolific this year, then you might see very few strawberries.  But if you removed the oldest mother plants you should do OK.
The idea is to remove the 3 yr old mothers and older plants each fall.   The 2-year old plants from last season will be the 3-year olds the following spring and give you the best bounty.
I find the hardest thing is to keep track of which is what age so I now grow mine in a 3' wide berm (raised bed without boards) in 3 basic rows.  Maybe you could tie yarn or strips of cloth around the mothers and their next year's plants to keep them straight.
Remember, their most prolific year is their 3rd, then its downhill from there so you remove them.
June bearing Strawberries Strawb10
(above)  Straw-mulched bed.

June bearing Strawberries 05-23-10
My strawberry berm runs 16 feet across the front of my raised beds.  I cover against bird damage because one year they cleaned me out before I could start harvesting one morning.
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Post  Dawncee 3/29/2014, 3:49 pm

Bea,

Thank you for your reply.  I just planted them last year so they are all probably still in their prime berry producing years.  I dug them all up, trimmed off all dead leaves and runners, trimmed roots and then replanted about 2/3 of them.  I am wondering if all this 'attention' will disrupt their ability to flower and set fruit.    

I guess time will tell.... thinking
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Post  quiltbea 3/29/2014, 3:57 pm

Dawncee.....Don't dig them up and replant.  Just remove the old ladies completely from the bed and leave the others.
Trim off any excess runners.
You only want about 4 of the runners that were around mother to stay and then next year 2 or 3 runners around those secondary ones.
Its just a matter of getting rid of the old and limiting the runners.

Since you already dug them up and replanted, you can just wait and see what happens.  In gardening, its all about trial and error.
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Post  Marc Iverson 3/29/2014, 4:08 pm

I haven't grown strawberries since I was 15, and certainly didn't know what I was doing then. Now I got three small flats of strawberries from two different local gardners who didn't know what kind they were and couldn't tell me anything about them. I don't know how old they are.

Didn't that Back to Eden guy, Paul, say he just buries all his strawberries in wood chips and they sort themselves out according to age and vigor that way -- the younger ones come up but the older ones don't have the strength?

What do folks here think about that -- and about my trying something like that, since I don't know how old my berries are anyway?
Marc Iverson
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Post  CapeCoddess 3/29/2014, 4:39 pm

I would plant them out the regular way and then put the wood chips over them in the fall. That way next year's crop comes up according to back to Eden.

Strawberries grow like weeds around here. I started with two 2 yrs ago bought on a whim and now the bed is overflowing and I'm having to give them away.. No matter what I do they seem to be happy.

CC
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Post  Marc Iverson 3/29/2014, 5:34 pm

Thanks, CC. I wouldn't bury them right away because I'd like a crop this season! They're all planted in a 8x2 bed at my neighbor's place. But come fall ...? Maybe that chip thing.

I hope I have as much luck with them as you did. It seems success with them around this region is not uncommon.

I was advised not to let these new plants put out runners this year, so they could get established (roots) and concentrate on fruiting. Is it really for the best to not let at least a runner or two out the first year in a new bed?
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Post  quiltbea 3/29/2014, 6:11 pm

There are different methods to growing strawberries.
My thought is that if you remove EVERY runner this year, you won't have any for next year which should be your Mother lode in 2 years time.  So I would allow only a couple runners from each mother plant and remove the others.  That way you will have your next generation of strawberries on the sidelines but you will still have a good production of berries for yourself this year.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 3/29/2014, 6:25 pm

My bed was a first year bed last year.  I covered it thickly with pine straw and wood chip mulch and some of the strawberries died off (as the BTE method said would happen) the strongest make it through easily.  My bed has exactly the thickness of planting I would have done had I done it manually but with none of the extra work.

I took the excess mulch off the bed and things are looking great, I have baby strawberries already.

We had so many runners towards the end of last year (we didn't realize we shouldn't have let them grow) that we put rain gutters around 2 sides of our table top and rooted a bunch of them.  I'm going to thin them out and transplant 1/2 as ground cover in my flower beds.
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Post  Marc Iverson 3/29/2014, 6:58 pm

Thanks, folks.

Another question -- is the rusty/red color on the outside of strawberry leaves a common pathogen, and if so, does anyone know what it is? I've seen it everywhere I've seen strawberries grow, and people seem blase about it.
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 3/29/2014, 9:16 pm

My only hands-on experience with strawberries was taught to me by my mother.  As long as I can remember, she has grown strawberries every year except for the few years she lived in Texas.  Her method, learned from my grandmother, is:  For Oregon, Southern Washington: in late April, (1) dig out all old strawberry plants, set aside and keep moistened.   (2) Amend soil with half and half chicken compost and Steer compost.  Dig composts well into subsoil.  (3) Discarding old (mother) plants, plant as many of the most vigorous young plants in your amended bed, leaving about six to eight inches between them.  (4) Water in well, surround with slug bait, and wait for sun and Mother Nature to settle the plants in and encourage them to produce flowers and fruit.  She always had enough berries to eat all she wanted through the summer and make enough freezer jam to supply a passel of grandchildren.  At age 91, she had to sell her house and move to a retirement condo, but the neighbors to her old house kept the strawberry bed picked.  One mentioned to me they could hardly keep up with the berries!  Nonna, who has planted a bunch of Granny's everbearing (name unknown) strawberries in a Granny garden so she will have berries delivered to her condo through the upcoming summer.
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Post  Dawncee 3/29/2014, 10:40 pm

Nonna.PapaVino, 

Thank you!  Your post makes me feel a lot better about my strawberries.  I did amend the soil with compost, but no chicken poop...I'll have to work on that!   Smile
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Post  Rahab222 3/30/2014, 2:26 am

I see people putting straw/hay on top of the strawberry plants.  Do you put this between the soil and the leaves, berries to enable the berries to ripen more evenly?  When my berries are red, the upper half on the berry facing down on the soil is still white.  If I rotate the berry to get it more sunlight for more even ripening, the pill bugs eat into the strawberry and they are ruined.  I got some pellets for pill bugs today to put in the box.  I have already used diatamaceous earth extensively to get rid of ants.

Any suggestions?  This is the second year of these plants and I have others I planted last fall.
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Post  quiltbea 3/30/2014, 12:39 pm

Nonna...I never heard about removing all the plants and replanting the vigorous ones.  Like I said there are several methods to growing strawberries.  Sounds good.

Rahab....I've heard that cinnamon is used to get rid of ants with good results.  Never had the problem myself......or maybe I should say not yet.  Famous last words.

The straw tucked around the plants prevents the berries from touching the ground and getting mushy and kept safe from some critters.  It also keeps the berries where you can reach them easier.
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Post  yolos 3/30/2014, 2:24 pm

I had ants in my strawberry bed last year and sprinkled a lot of cinnamon around a couple of times and they either died or left the bed.
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Post  CapeCoddess 3/30/2014, 3:27 pm

yolos wrote:I had ants in my strawberry bed last year and sprinkled a lot of cinnamon around a couple of times and they either died or left the bed.
What a great tip!  Does it work on pill bugs, too?

CC
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Post  yolos 3/30/2014, 4:06 pm

CapeCoddess wrote:
yolos wrote:I had ants in my strawberry bed last year and sprinkled a lot of cinnamon around a couple of times and they either died or left the bed.
What a great tip!  Does it work on pill bugs, too?

CC

I don't think I have any pill bugs (if I do they are not bothering anything) so I have no idea if the cinnamon will work on them.  I don't even know why it works for ants.
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Post  Marc Iverson 3/30/2014, 5:24 pm

Ever see those videos where someone tries to eat a few tablespoons of cinammon? It looks some combination of hilarious and horrifying. It dries out your mouth so fast without getting any less powdery that it can create a cinnamon volcano expanding in all directions. Perhaps ants find it similarly overwhelming.
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