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Help with overwintered strawberries

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Help with overwintered strawberries

Post  lisaphoto on 3/18/2011, 9:24 am

Last year I planted a bunch of strawberries (50 - 60) in this thing



Anyways, I picked almost all the blooms, and most of the runners so the roots could grow strong and have a good harvest this year. After a while though, the runners kinda got away from me, and they went crazy. Also, it seems like the plants may have gotten some kind of disease. Their stems turned red, and there were some red leaves. In the fall, a bunch of leaves blew in, and I left them there as a mulch (plus I was newly pregnant, and in no mood to garden).

So now when I look at the plants, they have green leaves, but still some red stems, and they are covered in leaves, and weeds, but are growing wildly out of them. I don't think it is new growth, just the old growth from last year.

So should I:
1) cut everything back to the ground, and the plants will regrow
2) try to clean out the bed, and leave the plants as is
3) dig everything out and start over with new plants

lisaphoto

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Re: overwintered strawberries

Post  ander217 on 3/18/2011, 9:37 am

I've only grown strawberries in beds, but they turn red in the fall naturally and then green back up in spring. If you think your red stems aren't normal, they may need fertilizing. Add some fish emulsion or your preferred fertilizer to a few plants, and see if they turn a more normal color in a few days. Too much fertilizer will make the leaves grow at the expense of the fruit.

If it were me, I'd clean out the weeds and leave the plants as they are. See what happens this spring. If they don't bloom and set fruit, then you can cut them to the ground or pull them out and start over, but so far they sound like normal strawberries to me. Strawberries usually need to be replaced every few years anyway. I'd give these a shot before starting over.

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Re: Help with overwintered strawberries

Post  lisaphoto on 3/18/2011, 9:58 am

Yeah, I guess I'll have to get out there and get that cleaned out. Seeing as that I am now very pregnant, I am going to try to talk my hubby into doing it for me. Too bad he is never home.

Also, instead of replacing strawberry roots every couple of years, I plan on using the runners in a cycle so I never have to buy new ones. So I'm glad to know that maybe these still have a chance.

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Re: Help with overwintered strawberries

Post  Squat_Johnson on 3/18/2011, 3:03 pm

I am putting in a new bed of strawberries as well, and was just reading about renovating a bed of established strawberries... evidently they like to be slapped around... this talks about ripping out the established plants in favor of the new runners. I did the opposite in mine. Guess that's why I'm starting over this year.

http://www.utextension.utk.edu/publications/spfiles/SP284-B.pdf

copying from thread Dormant Strawberry plants
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t5634-dormant-strawberry-plants#48575

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Re: Help with overwintered strawberries

Post  Megan on 3/18/2011, 6:23 pm

Boy, I remember that red leaf / red stem thing from back when I was a child. I don't remember what it means, unfortunately. We got lots of strawberries, though....maybe it is a varietal aspect? I'd love to know what it really means.

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Re: Help with overwintered strawberries

Post  lisaphoto on 3/18/2011, 7:39 pm

So after looking at the garden, I realized what I thought were dried leaves that blew in, were really dead runners that never got a chance to root. There's also some leaves mixed in, and some weeds/grass. So I just went through with scissors and started cutting the bad stuff out. I ran into 2 problems though, the structure of the bed is too big to reach into the middle, and I am 7 1/2 months pregnant, and it is not very fun being bent over for long. So I only got about 1/6 of the bed done so far. We'll see if I can get anymore.

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Re: Help with overwintered strawberries

Post  Megan on 3/19/2011, 11:20 am

The strawberries won't mind the litter. It will probably help mulch the ground. Don't worry about it... you can fix it later!

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Re: Help with overwintered strawberries

Post  lisaphoto on 3/19/2011, 4:09 pm

Really, I was afraid they wouldn't produce with all that. So maybe I won't kill myself trying to get it cleaned out.

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Re: Help with overwintered strawberries

Post  Megan on 3/19/2011, 6:20 pm

You got part of the bed done; you can call it an experiment and see which part produces better. Wink

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Re: Help with overwintered strawberries

Post  martha on 3/19/2011, 8:53 pm

Lisa, is it inherently too big to reach the middle, or is because of your Work in Progress? Every year I am tempted by those.

I have read that red leaves are the sign of some dread strawberry disease, but I have also read that it is totally normal. I have always had stems/leaves turn red, and the plants seem to remain healthy and happy.

And when are you due?

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Re: Help with overwintered strawberries

Post  lisaphoto on 3/20/2011, 9:43 am

I think the design of the pyramid is flawed. The base is 6 ft wide I think. In order for my short little arms (I'm 4'11) to reach the top (or even middle tier), I need to step or kneel on the lower level. Also, it took a ton of mix to fill in because the bottom tier is so big and must be filled all the way to put the next tiers on. If I had to do it again, I would either just do them in a 4x4 box, or do the cool strawberry pyramid thing.

Also, the plants I did cut back, all look nice and green still. I think the red may have been coming from runners that didn't get a chance to root. I cut all runners back at first, but later in the summer, I just let them go. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to cut all that back so I can tell what's what. I do want to let runners go this year and get rooted since I am now working with 2nd year plants, and then I can have fresh ones next year.

I am due in May though ( and have a 2 1/2 year old), so we'll see how productive I am in the garden this year.

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Re: Help with overwintered strawberries

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/20/2011, 9:57 am

My last pregnancy was 13 years ago, hubby planted a massive garden that year, all in rows, we had almost a full acre of produce planted. I was due in July, most of the garden was on a slope, getting to the garden was no problem, getting back out of it was. I seriously considered inventing a belly wheel barrel, as I ended up at 185 pounds. My older 2 did what they could, they were 12 & 10, and I had an almost 2yo. As usual hubby got busy during the summer months and most of it went to waste. If I had been thinking straight, I would have put a "U-Pick-It" sign out front, and sold produce. If you don't already have a little red wagon, get one, your 2yo can pull it around, and when needed you can pull him/her. Keep us posted.

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Re: Help with overwintered strawberries

Post  lisaphoto on 3/20/2011, 11:23 am

Haaa, I started out way over 185 pounds, so I am carrying alot around. But our yard and garden are small. All I have is a 4x12, a small bed for herbs, the strawberries, a tiny spot for asparagus, and I will be planting blueberries at the end of the deck. I would have hubby help out, but he has been working every day, either at work, or renovating our rental property. Luckily, I think my mom may help out some, and she will be staying with us for a little bit after the baby comes. I'm really excited about having fresh produce this year, especially since it will make dinners at home more exciting. We eat out often, and that is going to be greatly reduced when I have to take 2 kids! Last year, none of my zucchini did very well (squash vine borer Sad ), but hopefully we'll get some this year b/c I love to cook with it.

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Re: Help with overwintered strawberries

Post  CindiLou on 3/20/2011, 11:01 pm

I never have grown strawberries the way your supposed too! I grow them the farmer way...big area and let them go! Yup they have red in the fall and then in the spring I clean up the bed a little and enjoy the berries. Oh I bought tulle at walmart last year and beat the birds! I got over 10 quarts from an area maybe 3 ft by 4 ft! Well, that was not counting the eating out of the garden and what I gave away! Oh and the grandkids would help themselves while outside playing! I have grown the same strawberries this way for 13 yrs with one time I moved them from the ground to the raised bed!

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Re: Help with overwintered strawberries

Post  laurainwinona on 4/23/2011, 11:47 pm

Last spring, a friend gave me a bunch of strawberry plants....I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with my fifth child then, and barely managed to get them (strawberries, not kids) into pots. I put them in a 4x4 at the end of the summer after I'd recovered from the birth/newborn stage. They did have a lot of red stems by then, which was all the runners they had grown while I was too tired to pay them any attention. I cut off the runners and transferred the plants to a 4x4. This spring they are doing well, only a few didn't survive the winter.

Hey, ya do what you can do. The important thing is to take care of YOU right now.
Good luck! Hope all goes well!

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Re: Help with overwintered strawberries

Post  quiltbea on 4/24/2011, 12:09 am

My strawberries turn red in the fall, too, so that's not a problem. They will turn green again in the spring.
If you can't clean out the beds completely, leave the leaves there. It'll act as mulch. With the runners the leaves don't pack down completely anyway.
Try to cut off most of the runners. Leave last year's mother and up to about 3 or 4 runner babies but cut off what you can in excess of that. That'll give more energy to mother to produce fruit instead of runner babies.
After they blossom and the fruits start to grow, cover them with light row cover or bird netting before they turn red, if you can, so the birds don't clean you out of all your berries. Believe me, in one morning they can do just that.

Enjoy!

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Re: Help with overwintered strawberries

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