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1st year strawberry question

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1st year strawberry question

Post  itsablondething on 4/29/2010, 2:08 pm

When starting a traditional strawberry planting, I know they recommend plucking off all white blossoms (therefore no strawberry harvest the first year) to encourage plants to work on developing roots and runners.

With square foot gardening, especially if we are eliminating runners, do we need to do this, or do we need to wait until the second year for harvesting?

Thanks!

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  timwardell on 4/29/2010, 2:21 pm

I guess I was fortunate in that I never heard the "pluck off blossoms - wait until the 2nd year" story. I just put mine in the ground last year - in a 3' x 3' section of my raised bed - and enjoyed fresh strawberries the first year. Granted, there weren't a lot of them but I'm glad I didn't wait.

This year I have twice as many plants (thanks to the runners) and all the plants are LOADED with berries. In fact, I've got one berry that's almost ready to pick and eat. Looks like I have my first fresh strawberry on May 1 this year! Very Happy

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  Lavender Debs on 4/29/2010, 3:02 pm

What Tim said.

I had a taste of strawberries the first year (but I got them -June bearing- in the ground long before they were ready to blossom). Strawberries were never a problem.

I have done the same with blueberries. Blue Crop can live through anything (not just survive but thrive). No other blue berry gave me the yields that Blue Crop did. All the others (I have tested 12 different varieties in the last 30 years) were treated the same. They all thrived but never cropped as well as Blue Crop)

Got enough pie cherries to make a tart the first year, the tree survived and thrived. This year, if it will, I'll have a taste of my apples, even though I will limit them, I would be more comfortable if it had been planted in the fall. Same with Pears.

Deborah ....wishing they were ready now

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  itsablondething on 4/29/2010, 9:48 pm

Thanks for the info!

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  Megan on 4/29/2010, 9:52 pm

Wow, thank you for the info. I am trying to grow strawberries from seed myself!

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  Judge Kemp on 5/1/2010, 12:30 pm

I planted the strawberry "roots" back on April 14. I haven't seen but one sprouting out of the soil. I didn't think to soak the strawberry roots before I put them in the ground, so I'm a bit concerned they may not have made it.

Should I be getting concerned yet that I'm not seeing anything? Thanks!

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  lisaphoto on 5/1/2010, 12:35 pm

If you have everbearing strawberries, you just pick off the blooms until July, then you can let them go. Just a warning Megan, I heard if you start strawberries from seed, it takes three years. If you know somebody who grows them, you might be able to convince them to let you have some of their runners, which will produce in one year. Or you could buy the plants, they're pretty cheap.

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  martha on 5/1/2010, 1:02 pm

Judge Kemp - where are you located?

Megan - what type of strawberries are you growing from seed?

Tim - thanks! I just bought 100 strawberry plants and I don't want to wait until next year! (Well, truthfully, the 100 are bare-root and probably won't fruit this year. But, , me and my bright ideas, I also bought 18 transplants. )

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  Dietryin on 5/1/2010, 1:12 pm

@timwardell wrote:I guess Looks like I have my first fresh strawberry on May 1 this year! Very Happy


Me too! To bad the rest look like they have white powder mold on them.

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  martha on 5/1/2010, 1:17 pm

Die tryin' - sounds like powdery mildew - I found a site that might be helpful -


http://organicgardens.suite101.com/article.cfm/stop_mildew_in_an_organic_garden

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  timwardell on 5/1/2010, 2:58 pm

As I expected I ate my first fresh strawberry of the season this morning. Yummy! Very Happy

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  Megan on 5/1/2010, 3:06 pm

@martha wrote:Judge Kemp - where are you located?

Megan - what type of strawberries are you growing from seed?

Tim - thanks! I just bought 100 strawberry plants and I don't want to wait until next year! (Well, truthfully, the 100 are bare-root and probably won't fruit this year. But, , me and my bright ideas, I also bought 18 transplants. )

Yellow Wonder wild strawberries. The grower said they were easy to start, and it had a single, poor review on the website... I took a chance. I wish I had space for 100 strawberry plants, wow!!!

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  Judge Kemp on 5/1/2010, 5:26 pm

@martha wrote:Judge Kemp - where are you located?

Megan - what type of strawberries are you growing from seed?

Tim - thanks! I just bought 100 strawberry plants and I don't want to wait until next year! (Well, truthfully, the 100 are bare-root and probably won't fruit this year. But, , me and my bright ideas, I also bought 18 transplants. )

Martha--I'm in 5a--Central Iowa

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  jerzyjen on 5/1/2010, 10:02 pm

This is my first year too. Mel says cut the runners, but I guess I dont really know what a "runner" is. Last year i thought i knew what a tomato sucker was but i think i over pruned it, i was cutting off side shoots too.

Sounds like you kept the runners Tim. What should i do?

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  timwardell on 5/2/2010, 10:34 am

@jerzyjen wrote: Sounds like you kept the runners Tim. What should i do?
I let the runners go the first year. I think Mel recommends 4 plants per square for strawberries but I only planted 1. By letting the runners go I was able to fill up the squares without buying additional plants. Now I've got a 3' x 3' space that's filled with plants! Now that they're established and producing well I'll probably do some selective "thinning" and begin removing new runners (new baby plants) so as not to over crowd the space (which might limit production).

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  itsablondething on 5/3/2010, 3:57 am

Jerzyjen... I too am waiting to see what a "runner" looks like, and this will be my first year growing tomatoes vertically.. so I am wondering if I am going to be able to figure out what a "sucker" is... I think Mel needed to include photographs so we'd know what these things were. Funny, I grew up around farms and working on farms... and NO garden! So these things are a mystery to me!

I'm hoping to be able to figure out what my "runners" are so that I can transplant them elsewhere.

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  Megan on 5/3/2010, 4:44 am

@itsablondething wrote:Jerzyjen... I too am waiting to see what a "runner" looks like, and this will be my first year growing tomatoes vertically.. so I am wondering if I am going to be able to figure out what a "sucker" is... I think Mel needed to include photographs so we'd know what these things were. Funny, I grew up around farms and working on farms... and NO garden! So these things are a mystery to me!

I'm hoping to be able to figure out what my "runners" are so that I can transplant them elsewhere.

I grew up on a farm myself. We had a huge garden, too, but I was small enough at the time that my memories aren't too useful for gardening today... I remember the work, just not the particulars of timing, spacing, pests and all that. However, I do remember strawberries, as we had two 50 foot rows of them!

Mature strawberry plants put out long, somewhat stiff stems. That is a runner. They are bare except at the end (or along points of it, if it's long enough) you will see a few leaves. Each of these spots is a baby plant. It's been a long time since I've seen one, but IIRC usually there's about 4-5" between babies on a runner. What we would do is let them touch dirt, grow some roots and get established, before cutting the runner off from the momma plant. Then transplant the babies as needed. (You could also root the babies in their own container next to the momma plant... or, just cut them off and see how they do.)

The closest analogy I can think of in the plant world is a spider plant. That is a house plant with long, stripey leaves, and it sends off runners with baby plants in a similar way.

Hope this helps! Smile

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  quiltbea on 5/3/2010, 8:45 am

I'm going to use the matted row system for mine.
When the 'mother' is going to produce her bounty the 2nd year, you allow a couple of runners to establish themselves around her but cut off the rest so the strength goes into 'mother' and the babies you want to keep.
After 'mother' is done producing for the season, you remove her entirely, leaving the runners to take her place for next year. By then they will be big enuf to be 'mother' and produce a bonanza of fruits.
This way you never have to buy new plants as is normally done every other year or so. The 'mother' makes her own.
Each year you keep the plot trimmed to a 'mother' and a couple of runners only.
I made a mounded row for mine because I didn't have lumber for a bed but the same principle applies.

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  Dietryin on 5/3/2010, 11:07 am

@quiltbea wrote:
Each year you keep the plot trimmed to a 'mother' and a couple of runners only.
I made a mounded row for mine because I didn't have lumber for a bed but the same principle applies.

I hope you update us with pictures later in the year.

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  Megan on 5/4/2010, 6:41 am

Quiltbea, is that hay around your strawberries intended as a slug deterrent, or just mulch in general? Curious!

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Keeping your strawberry plants healthy and producing lots of

Post  Saartje on 5/4/2010, 8:13 am

The way I learned it, you only keep a single strawberry plant for a maximum of three years. After that, it starts producing poorer fruit, so it is replaced by a new plant, that you get for free at the end of the runner the old plant makes!

Let's assume you start with all new plants, in all three patches of 4 plants each. The first year you let them bloom and carry fruit, which they will, although not as much as the second year. During this year you cut away almost all runners the plants make, leaving just enough runners with baby plants to replace one patch (4).At the end of the first harvest, you lift patch number one, replacing the old plants by the baby plants which have formed at the end of the runners you left. The second year is the same, except now you replace the plants of patch number two, and the third year you replace the plants of patch number three. The fourth year you start all over on patch number one. That way you always have a patch each of new plants, plants of one year old and plants of two years old, and you should have a consistent harvest each year.

If you practice crop rotation, these 3 patches can be put in your scheme instead of potatoes, or you can move them around your SFG every time you lift the plants, but you can leave them on the same patches for ages, providing you add compost each time you lift the plants to replace them by new ones (each three years).

I know it sounds complicated, but if you just follow what I explained above step by step, it's really quite easy, and guaranteed to give you good fruit and keep your plants healthy!

@Megan: I really wouldn't start strawberries from seed, since it's so easy and cheap to get some plant material. Everyone who has strawberries can spare a few baby plants for you, and you can multiply them the first years by just keeping as many runners as possible. And the straw is there to keep the fruits of the ground, so they are dry and don't rot. Slugs will eat strawberries, I noticed, but only once the fruit has been damaged already, by a bird pecking at it for example.

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Megan, its grass.

Post  quiltbea on 5/4/2010, 12:34 pm

Megan, that's long grass my grandson cut with scissors from my flower garden.
I fight grass every year in those two plots and now I love it. It grows, we cut, I use it for mulch in my veggie garden after I've allowed it to dry in the sun a week or so to kill weed seeds and get brown.

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Re: 1st year strawberry question

Post  Megan on 5/4/2010, 5:53 pm

Thank you all for the great comments!

The reason I'm starting it from seed is, it's heirloom seed and for yellow berries. Sure, I could buy/beg strawberry plants (and it may very well come to that, grin) but I was curious to give it a try from seed.

I have a strawberry jar I will be using... my garden is small enough I don't want to try to rotate my strawberries. I am keeping the tray at the bottom full of water in hopes of keeping away the slugs, we'll see how that goes.

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