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Strawberries- Dazed and confused

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Post  littlesapphire on 4/30/2015, 8:58 pm

Oh, strawberries!  They're so hard to mess up, honest.  The hardest part about strawberries is keeping them from taking over everything.  I usually end up with at least a dozen plants outside of the box the following spring.

Last week, I went out and weeded, added some compost around each plant, and then mulched with shredded leaves. 

I bet your berries will love the good stuff you put on them.
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Post  donnainzone5 on 4/30/2015, 9:32 pm

Julie,

Well, last year's disappointing harvest convinced me that something is amiss.

Either I planted the strawberries too close together, didn't water sufficiently, or didn't fertilize appropriately.  I do have a drip irrigation system, but it's difficult to program!
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Post  sanderson on 5/1/2015, 3:28 am

I can't grow strawberries. Shocked

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Post  littlesapphire on 5/1/2015, 9:04 am

Donna, I'm sorry to hear about your strawberries!  I hope you can figure out what's going on and get your strawberries to produce for you.  The only thing I can think of is  maybe you don't have a regionally appropriate variety?  Let us know how it works out!
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Post  littlejo on 5/1/2015, 11:10 am

Sorry about strawberries not producing. For emergency, might try 1 dose of a liquid fertilizer made for tomatoes.Strawberries like high acid like toms.

For snails, slugs, pill bugs, millipedes, etc. Well, I'm in the south,so don't get enough cold to kill part of them, so they multiply over the winter. I first tried Sluggo, plus. It helped, but did not kill them all. I really wanted some berries so I went with the sevin following the directions for snails. It killed the snails, pill bugs, roly polies, etc. But it did not get the millipeds! I did not realize this til I get a really pretty berry, rinced it, and bit into it. The millipede had gotten inside and the berry kept growing and covered the hole. The millipede was still alive inside!  I re-read the seven mixing directions. To kill all, including millipedes, it had to be almost straight. I then would prob. not be able to eat the berries anyway. So, I got some Ortho Bug Geta, plus. It is not organic, but it works. I put it on the soil only around the plants, then put mulch, leaves, or pine needles over it. This keeps the bees out of it. I do this in the spring, but, also do this in the fall. It seems to make up for the lack of snow down south.
I am having a great season this yr. We are having a long cool spring.
As far as pinching the blooms, I personally don't, but I'm greedy and love my berries!
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Post  CapeCoddess on 5/1/2015, 11:13 am

donnainzone10 wrote: I dumped the solids into the compost pile, added water to the liquid, and used it as compost tea in my strawberry bed--or at least as much of it as I could.

I thought of the compost tea during the night and that's exactly what I was coming here to tell you.  Smart lady!
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Post  donnainzone5 on 5/1/2015, 11:35 am

Little Sapphire,

Strawberries generally are hardy.  I live in Zone 5a, according to some websites; USDA says 6b (laugh).  

I generally purchase strawberries and other plants that are hardy down to Zone 4, if not Zone 3, whenever possible.  

I'm pretty sure it's a matter of nutrients.  

Thanks for your comment.
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Post  Mikesgardn on 5/1/2015, 5:38 pm

@sanderson wrote:Donna asked about applying compost.  I'm curious as to how to added compost to a permanent bed.  Just apply around the plants without burying the crowns?
Yes, that is what I do right after the plants stop producing.  You can't add a lot of compost without covering the crowns, and that is why I think it is a good idea to cut all runners to maintain a 6" spacing.  Too many plants will deplete the nutrients.  I also clip the foliage down at that time, just above the crown.  This is optional, but it is a good idea if you have any disease.
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Post  Zmoore on 5/8/2015, 10:27 am

Strawberries- Dazed and confused - Page 2 Bloomi10

Got a few blooms coming.  Let it ride!!!!
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Post  Mikesgardn on 5/8/2015, 7:33 pm

And next year at this time, they will look something like this.  I planted these in 2012.  Strawberries are one of my favorites.  Easy to grow, not too hard to maintain, and you get a good crop for a few years.  Just keep the animals away.Strawberries- Dazed and confused - Page 2 Img_0113
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Post  CapeCoddess on 5/9/2015, 3:31 pm

Such pretty beds, Mike and Zmoore. Not like my unplanned inground tender-loving-neglected bed with escapees jumping ship. The flowers will be popping soon: Strawberries- Dazed and confused - Page 2 Img_2033Strawberries- Dazed and confused - Page 2 Img_2034

Even with all it's been through it sure makes yummy berries! I love you
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Post  vortex on 5/19/2015, 1:02 pm

Went out to pull a few weeds last night, and found a pleasant surprise... strawberries!

Initially I figured it was just an early handful. Boy was I wrong. I ended up with 2 quarts that are now waiting to top some shortcakes. There are tons and tons more to come in the next few weeks from all the green ones coming on. Woo hoo!
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Post  CapeCoddess on 5/19/2015, 1:07 pm

WOW!  What a nice surprise! I may have ONE this weekend.
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Post  mschaef on 5/19/2015, 1:12 pm

Highly jealous here of all your strawberries. I guess I need to go to the strawberry farm and pick more.
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Post  vortex on 5/26/2015, 12:34 pm

In the last week I've picked 3 gallons of strawberries out of 2 4x4 beds, with a ton more to come.

Shortcakes with 1 gal, and the other 2 are earmarked for jelly/jam.
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Post  sanderson on 5/26/2015, 8:44 pm

From someone who can't grow a strawberry if her life depended on it - I'm jealous. Strawberries- Dazed and confused - Page 2 3170584802

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Post  Mikesgardn on 5/26/2015, 9:37 pm

@sanderson wrote:From someone who can't grow a strawberry if her life depended on it - I'm jealous. Strawberries- Dazed and confused - Page 2 3170584802
I just don't understand how you can't grow a strawberry in California.   Here in Maryland grocery stores, all of the strawberries come from California.  Year round!
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Post  littlejo on 5/26/2015, 9:52 pm

@Mikesgardn wrote:
@sanderson wrote:From someone who can't grow a strawberry if her life depended on it - I'm jealous. Strawberries- Dazed and confused - Page 2 3170584802
I just don't understand how you can't grow a strawberry in California.   Here in Maryland grocery stores, all of the strawberries come from California.  Year round!
South Carolina too! That's when I decided to grow my own. Mine taste so much better than those that are trucked in! Fresher too.
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Post  sanderson on 5/26/2015, 9:55 pm

This year I conquer the tomato, next year the strawberry! neener

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Post  donnainzone5 on 5/26/2015, 10:01 pm

Sanderson,

Strawberries like slightly acidic soil, and, as I understand it, pine needle mulch.  

This year, to make up for last year's compost neglect,  I used compost tea.  So far, they're looking good, although I hope I didn't overdo the nitrogen.
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Post  momvet on 5/27/2015, 4:06 pm

@sanderson wrote:From someone who can't grow a strawberry if her life depended on it - I'm jealous. Strawberries- Dazed and confused - Page 2 3170584802
I'm beginning to think the same thing. I didn't put the berries in my SFG because I thought they would sprawl all over (and I was concerned about my square "usage"), so I put them in stacked containers. They started off great and I pinched the flowers, but stopped after a month. The leaves start browning at the same time and I thought maybe DH was overwatering, so we cut that down. Some bounced back, some not. One is dead, 2 others seem to be heading that way. The best ones are on top, which makes me think maybe a sun issue? But I pulled the entire stack into full sun and rotate it. Maybe I can't grow strawberries either Shocked
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Post  sanderson on 5/27/2015, 7:22 pm

Laughing   I tried them one year in a stacked container than was rotated and got a few berries.  I didn't cut the flowers because I just wanted the berries.  A few died later in the summer.  One or two survived winter.  Second summer I tried a cement pan on the ground and they all died one after another.  This year I didn't even try.  Husband had built a Gwennifer table top for the cement pan with holes drilled where the pan would dip if filled and watered.  Maybe if I had put the pan in the TT it would have worked better.  I even mulched them with wood chips.

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Post  vortex on 5/27/2015, 9:46 pm

Strawberries really aren't difficult. No need to over think it at all.


Year 1

Start out around your last frost date, maybe a week later.

Take a 4x4, add 12 plants.


Pinch all flowers, and let the runners run. Don't clip, but you can carefully guide them as necessary.

After the first freeze and your plants die back for the winter, dress with a little compost and mulch in with leaves. Make sure the compost doesn't cover the crowns too deeply, so only add about a 1/4" of compost.

Wait until spring.


Year 2

Strawberries wake up, and next thing you know you have a box that's a solid mat of green plants. About a month or so after your average last frost date, start looking for berries.

Now this is just my personal opinion, but just by their nature strawberries in an SFG setup are not going to be perfectly on grid. That's fine. Just let them go where they want to within their little 4x4 world. The plants will balance themselves out just fine.

The runners are important. This is how the plants propagate and they replace themselves year after year. As individual plants die after a couple years, the new ones have established and taken their place.

When fall comes, dress with 1/4" of compost and mulch with leaves again. Repeat this every fall.



At some point the bed production will diminish. Could be after 4 years, could be 6 or 7. At that time I would suggest ripping out the plants, and throwing it in the compost bin. Do this after the harvest is done. When the plants are out, take your soil/MM out and use it to dress elsewhere. Replace with fresh mix and compost, plant 12 more strawberry plants, and let the runners run. By doing this right after they're done producing for the year you can use the rest of the year to let the runners go, and then you won't have a down year with no berries.

You can supplement with fertilizer as needed. A little in the spring with a flower/bloom ratio, and then a growth ratio in mid summer to help kick those runners into gear.


Oh, and learn how to make jam. Yum!
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Post  sanderson on 5/27/2015, 10:00 pm

Now strawberry jam I can do! I still have one jar that is 35 years old. Just keeping it.

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Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/28/2015, 8:01 am

DH & I went to a nearby "farm" and picked up 2 flats of strawberries & a 1/2 bushel of peaches.

Both the strawberry & strawberry/peach jams I made are terrific.  And we've got plenty of frozen strawberries for smoothies, etc. now!
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