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Can we talk strawberries?

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Can we talk strawberries?

Post  daryl.weaver on 5/8/2012, 2:20 pm

I planted 3 squares with 4 plants each. The rest of my garden is going great guns, but these have been disappointing. Got a couple of handfulls of berries every couple of days at first. Now they have slowed and the fruit is tiny...not to mention some furry critter seems to live them! Did I plant them too tightly? Should I pull half of them up? Is it too late for berries in central Mississippi?

You can see them in the bottom right of this picture.


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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  quiltbea on 5/8/2012, 2:37 pm

Strawberries don't produce much the first year. The 2nd year you'll get a good crop. You should actually remove the blossoms on new plants the first year so the energy goes into growing strong roots for next year. You'll get an even bigger crop the 3rd year, then its downhill from there. Either you'll need to put in new berries or use some runners from the year before as your new 'mother' plants.

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Oh Snap! Didn't know that...

Post  daryl.weaver on 5/8/2012, 2:41 pm

...Do I cut them down after this growing season or just leave them?

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also...is 4 per square too many...

Post  daryl.weaver on 5/8/2012, 2:42 pm

they seem pretty crowded as it is.

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  quiltbea on 5/8/2012, 2:46 pm

Just leave them. Don't cut them back. I forget you are in the south but I think you still need to cover them over with straw, about 4-6" deep thru the winter and remove the straw in the spring. They'll regrow and get lots of berries next year.

What you want to cut out are the runners. Long stems will shoot out from the main plant, these are runners. They will take root and use energy to grow a new plant another year but in your SF squares you can't allow that to happen. You just want the 'mother' to grow so keep the plants to your 4 per square and trim off any runners. until the plant has used itself up in 3 years.

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  quiltbea on 5/8/2012, 2:50 pm

Personally, I don't use squares for my plants. I don't feel there is enough room in the squares to put 4 but many have tried it and it works for them.

I have a separate raised bed berm for my sberries so I can let runners grow the 2nd year and take root so they can take over when the original 'mother' wears out. I don't have to buy new plants. Mine keep making their own replacements.



My strawberry bed this spring.

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  gregrenee88 on 5/8/2012, 4:29 pm

Do we remove strawberry plants once they are done or leave them for next spring???

Renee thinking

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  plantoid on 5/8/2012, 4:38 pm

QB over this side of the pond we have to rotate the strawberries in a new plot every three year using new plants taken off as four runners per plant at the end of last season . I don't think it is because the plant is used up but because of the strawbery root sawfly setting up home in the old roots and killing off the pants by eating the roots. Do you have this problem on your side of the shore?

My old gardening books says that it is only spring planted strawberries that you don't crop off . Autumn planted ones are OK , but this is for the british climate so may vary for you guys.

The book also mentions that come end of fruit collecting when no further fruit is there , burn the straw off , it will burn the foilage but evidently it soon grows back ... this is done to keep the plants as free from bugs and disease as possible , the burnt straw is also a source of potash.

We only put new straw down in the spring before the plants flower and after tilling the space in between the plants which is to allow easier water penetration and retention as well as to stop mud splashed on the plants from heavy rain drops . It also supresses weeds to a certain extent.


Last edited by plantoid on 5/8/2012, 4:45 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  llama momma on 5/8/2012, 4:42 pm

Someone in another thread told me do not cut off the blooms on strawberry starts the first year. Truth is I'm now hearing it both ways: and that I should cut off the first season blooms. My situation is a little crazy then. The little berry plants are blooming clumps of flowers and where the petals have fallen off, it is thickening where the bloom was and is bending over. So is it possible I'm going to have berries from little starts planted a few weeks ago? thinking

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  plantoid on 5/8/2012, 4:54 pm

@llama momma wrote:Someone in another thread told me do not cut off the blooms on strawberry starts the first year. Truth is I'm now hearing it both ways: and that I should cut off the first season blooms. My situation is a little crazy then. The little berry plants are blooming clumps of flowers and where the petals have fallen off, it is thickening where the bloom was and is bending over. So is it possible I'm going to have berries from little starts planted a few weeks ago?

I seem to recall that the PICK YOUR OWN ( PYO ) farms guys do use a high speed tractor driven rotary cutter to take to tops off the fields of strawberries that were spring planted but they have a different force driving them called money . Most of them didn't have the labour available to plant new plants late in the year when it is wet cold and muddy .

You can evidently refridgerate at a fairly cold / cool temp autumn / winter rooted strawberry runners /plants for several months in open poly bags on trays so that they are there ready when conditions allow planting . A bit like stratifying seeds I suppose.

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  quiltbea on 5/8/2012, 5:05 pm

@gregrenee.....Leave the plant alone to overwinter and come back next spring. You'll leave her there til she produces her biggest harvest her 3rd year.

@plantoid......I can only go by what works for me here in Maine,USA.

I leave my strawberry plants right where they are but after the 3rd year, they start to get weaker and stop producing. Sometimes you'll still get a good amount of berries a 4th year, but its always iffy. Its the nature of the plant. They are NOT perennials. After 3 years they really should be replaced, either by putting in new plants, in which case you won't have any berries that year unless you've allowed some runners to root before this. That's how I do mine.

The 2nd spring, I allow 2 runners to form from each 'mother' which will take root. This 2nd year the runners are establishing themselves and energy is growing roots. Mother is also giving many blossoms this year.

The 3rd year Mother is at her peak and the runners have some blossoms, too, so there's a lot of berries. When I'm done with 'mother's' harvest, I remove her completely from the bed. The runner will now take over as 'mother' next year. The plant configeration is a little different because I've removed the old one and the new mother is in a different place. The cycle continues. I hope I am making myself clear here.

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  littlejo on 5/8/2012, 5:35 pm

I live in the south so I guess it's different down here. I do not remove blooms(that's the strawberry), but I remove any runners while the plant is blooming or has berries. Then, after the berries are pretty much gone, I let the plants put out runners. If I don't need them to start another bed, then I try to give them away! If planted before fall, the plants will put down good roots before winter. This tricks the plant into thinking it is a second yr. plant and will bear like crazy in the spring.(I got this info from a strawberry farmer) First yr plants will bear, but not as heavily as if planted the yr. before.



I will have strawberry plants for free this summer, when the plants put on runners. If local or just willing to pay postage, let me know.



plantoid: I could not find any info on burning plants off. Do you have a link or more info?



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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  plantoid on 5/8/2012, 6:15 pm

Jo it's more the burning off of the straw to kill the bugs in it but the leaves get burnt a bit as well

The info is unlikely to be on the internet ( but you never know ) for it is in a book written by Percy Thrower who became the first TV gardening celeb back in the early 1960's .

The book I have was first printed in 1962 , mine is the 1964 reprint there was no such thing as ISBN codes in those days .

The book is called " Percy Thrower's Encyclopaedia of Gardening "

Percy is described as one of the most knowledgeable horticulturalists of the present day in the fly sheet blurb.

He was the one mainly responsible for me getting interested in gardening and going about it logically & scientifically.


Last edited by plantoid on 5/8/2012, 6:20 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  plantoid on 5/8/2012, 6:19 pm

Thanks for your post QB it makes sense and is useful.

Do you move the bed to a clean un used for strawberries for several years one or do you continually use the same bed area for years and years ?

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  plantoid on 5/8/2012, 6:31 pm

Jo , here is some info about the burning off of the straw around the strawberries plus a load of other useful stuff

http://www.helpfulgardener.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2320

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  llama momma on 5/8/2012, 6:35 pm

Good information everyone.

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  JennAndCompany on 5/8/2012, 9:20 pm

Thanks everyone for the great info! I had no idea strawberries had such a specific life cycle. I think that explains so much about all my issues relating to these berries!


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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  quiltbea on 5/8/2012, 9:26 pm

@plantoid......I use the same bed but every fall I add lots of fallen leaves and then bury with straw for the winter. In the spring I remove the straw, the leaves have composted beneath for the most part, but I also add another 2 or 3" of compost all around the plants for the new year. So far so good. The only thing that moves is the mother plants from one spot to another 2 years later.

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  plantoid on 5/9/2012, 5:18 am

It sounds as though you don't have any disease probs QB , if we did that here in the UK the beds would be shot by year four with sawfly attack or any of several soil borne viruses /diseases .

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  SwampCatNana on 5/9/2012, 8:31 am

Speaking of strawberries, I saw some plants with bright pink flowers. The lady who planted them said they were ornamental and you couldn't eat the berries. Also, that the berries are very tiny.
When I was in Austria they had some very tiny berries they said were Alpine strawberries. The were so sweet!
Any info on the pink flowering kind?
Lee

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 5/9/2012, 8:34 am

QB - I have 8 plants in their second year and probably 8-10 more new plants this year. When you let the runners form do you guide them to a particular place? As my plants multiply, will the older plants be obvious? I know what the original 8 are but the runners are rather willy nilly. I'm wondering if I should have been more concerned with placing them so I'd know. I thought about tagging them in some way, but is all this necessary? Are the plants that are ready to come out obvious?

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  SwampCatNana on 5/9/2012, 8:43 am

@UnderTheBlackWalnut wrote:QB - I have 8 plants in their second year and probably 8-10 more new plants this year. When you let the runners form do you guide them to a particular place? As my plants multiply, will the older plants be obvious? I know what the original 8 are but the runners are rather willy nilly. I'm wondering if I should have been more concerned with placing them so I'd know. I thought about tagging them in some way, but is all this necessary? Are the plants that are ready to come out obvious?


When I had my own home I had a strawberry patch in the backyard. Of course this was pre-SFG! When the runners appeared I would "stake" them into a new row. That way I knew where the newer plants were.
Now with the SFG, I would put a small pot next to the "mother" plant and stake the runner into the pot. The you could move the newer plants to where you want.
HTH
Lee

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  littlesapphire on 5/9/2012, 9:09 am

@SwampCatNana wrote:Speaking of strawberries, I saw some plants with bright pink flowers. The lady who planted them said they were ornamental and you couldn't eat the berries. Also, that the berries are very tiny.
When I was in Austria they had some very tiny berries they said were Alpine strawberries. The were so sweet!
Any info on the pink flowering kind?
Lee

I've heard of these types of strawberries, and have seen them myself. The berries are edible, but they're not very good. Mushy and pretty tasteless. Alpine strawberries, which also grows wild in my area, have white flowers and YES they are SO GOOD. Better than candy! We always leave a small patch of them next to our house Smile

A friend of mine is growing a kind of strawberry that is both pink flowered and delicious to eat. Can't remember the name of it though.

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  SwampCatNana on 5/9/2012, 9:20 am

sunny littlesapphire - If you can find out the name, I'd like to try them.
Lee

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Re: Can we talk strawberries?

Post  littlesapphire on 5/9/2012, 9:30 am

I just did a quick search on google, and found a couple of pink flowered edible strawberries.

This one's called Fragoo pink:




This one's called Pikan:




This one is Roman:




And this one is SO COOL. It's called Tarpan:




Unfortunately, I could only find these being sold as seeds instead of bare root.

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