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Winterizing strawberries

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Winterizing strawberries

Post  ktomchik on 12/30/2014, 5:04 pm

I live outside of Chicago and read that I should cover my strawberries with straw over the winter to protect them from the cold. Since they are in a box could I also put an insulated lid on the box? I have sheet of styrofoam.  I am concerned that they will not get enough light if the lid is on all the time. Should I use it only overnight or daytime also when it is very cold? How about a plastic sheet lid to get greenhouse warming? Thanks for any advice. Ken
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Re: Winterizing strawberries

Post  plantoid on 12/30/2014, 6:23 pm

You may find that putting the foam lid over them causes them to sweat and develop mould or simply rot .
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Re: Winterizing strawberries

Post  slimbolen99 on 12/30/2014, 7:25 pm

If you can get your hands on some leaves (rake your leaves up), just pile up about a 2"-4" layer of leaves over them in the early winter -- and then either rake them out or, as I do, use a leaf blower to blow most of them out in the early spring.
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Re: Winterizing strawberries

Post  walshevak on 12/30/2014, 7:39 pm

A mulch mix of straw and leaves will work.  Just make it thick.  Then in early spring, remove the mulch and add to or start a compost pile.

Kay

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Re: Winterizing strawberries

Post  littlejo on 12/30/2014, 7:42 pm

@ktomchik wrote:I live outside of Chicago and read that I should cover my strawberries with straw over the winter to protect them from the cold. Since they are in a box could I also put an insulated lid on the box? I have sheet of styrofoam.  I am concerned that they will not get enough light if the lid is on all the time. Should I use it only overnight or daytime also when it is very cold? How about a plastic sheet lid to get greenhouse warming? Thanks for any advice. Ken
Ken, Strawberries need a cold period. They will go dormant in the winter, and you should cover them with straw, pinestraw, leaves, some kind of mulch(not plastic)
They should be able to breathe.
In the spring, maybe 2 weeks before last spring frost, clear the mulch/straw away and they will start growing/blooming soon.
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Re: Winterizing strawberries

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 12/30/2014, 9:44 pm

@littlejo wrote:
@ktomchik wrote:I live outside of Chicago and read that I should cover my strawberries with straw over the winter to protect them from the cold. Since they are in a box could I also put an insulated lid on the box? I have sheet of styrofoam.  I am concerned that they will not get enough light if the lid is on all the time. Should I use it only overnight or daytime also when it is very cold? How about a plastic sheet lid to get greenhouse warming? Thanks for any advice. Ken
Ken, Strawberries need a cold period. They will go dormant in the winter, and you should cover them with straw, pinestraw, leaves, some kind of mulch(not plastic)
They should be able to breathe.
In the spring, maybe 2 weeks before last spring frost, clear the mulch/straw away and they will start growing/blooming soon.
Jo Ann
Another option is to cover them with a thick layer of wood chips. These would be Ramial wood chips (branches under 3 inches with leaves and needles, not bark or sawdust). I did this last winter about 4 inches deep. I left the mulch on and only the strong plants grew through it so I didn't need to do any thinning. The man I learned this from and NEVER had to thin his old, non-bearing plants out as they are simply too weak to come through the cover and the young ones take over.
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Re: Winterizing strawberries

Post  ktomchik on 12/31/2014, 1:08 am

Thanks to all of you. I was hoping to use leaves as I have plenty of them after raking my lawn. I read that leaves alone may pack down too much to work well. I obtained some straw and put 4-6 inches into the SFG box. It is hard for me to resist laying the styrofoam sheet over the box when it is really cold. MY POOR BABIES! I know as you reminded me the plants need to grow despite my efforts so I will  try to resist the temptation. Maybe if it is below 10 degrees only and only overnight not continuously? Seems like I just may not be able to help myself.  Thanks to all of you again.  Ken
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Re: Winterizing strawberries

Post  Kelejan on 12/31/2014, 1:14 am

ktomchik, thanks for raising this topic, it reminded me of what I should be or not be doing for my own strawberries.
Just remember, TOUGH LOVE! If some strawberries do not survive, then they were not strong enough. You do not want plants with only a couple of tiny berries, do you?
.
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Re: Winterizing strawberries

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 12/31/2014, 2:47 am

@Kelejan wrote:ktomchik, thanks for raising this topic, it reminded me of what I should be or not be doing for my own strawberries.
Just remember, TOUGH LOVE! If some strawberries do not survive, then they were not strong enough. You do not want plants with only a couple of tiny berries, do you?
.
This weekend I need to attend to mine.  We just got our first frosts this week so I'll cover them Saturday.  Deadlines are looming (have to get new art to my agents before Friday).  So I just have to resist the impulse to grab my wheelbarrow and head to the wood chip pile!  

Fortunately, our low 30s high 20s aren't going to be a big deal to the berries even uncovered :-)
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Re: Winterizing strawberries

Post  CapeCoddess on 1/1/2015, 10:45 am

@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:
Another option is to cover them with a thick layer of wood chips.  These would be Ramial wood chips (branches under 3 inches with leaves and needles, not bark or sawdust).  I did this last winter about 4 inches deep.  I left the mulch on and only the strong plants grew through it so I didn't need to do any thinning.  The man I learned this from and NEVER had to thin his old, non-bearing plants out as they are simply too weak to come through the cover and the young ones take over.  

I do this with pine needles. No maintenance necessary and the darn things grow like weeds, even jumping out of their bed into the lawn. This year I put seaweed over some of them just to see what would happen come spring. If I lose a few I can always pick some out of the lawn for replacements. Rolling Eyes

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