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Is it too early to plant strawberries in zone 6

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Is it too early to plant strawberries in zone 6

Post  jymarino on 4/10/2011, 9:10 am

I saw strawberry plants at the store and want to do a few squares of them, but don't know if it is still too early. Our earliest frost date is a couple of weeks away still.

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Re: Is it too early to plant strawberries in zone 6

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/10/2011, 9:29 am

They really should be okay, strawberries are tough little buggers. We had a colder than normal winter, and almost broke our "most snowfall for a season" record, missed by 3", and I did not cover my strawberries last fall. If you have access to some hay, or even leaves or pine needles (strawberries love pine needle covers) you can cover them until it warms up a bit. Be carefull with covering with leaves though, you may be adding acorns or such.
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Re: Is it too early to plant strawberries in zone 6

Post  jymarino on 4/10/2011, 9:32 am

Thanks! My next question is how much will they spread in the box in future seasons? I just recalled that they are perennial so should the entire box be devoted to them?

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Re: Is it too early to plant strawberries in zone 6

Post  bullfrogbabe on 4/10/2011, 9:36 am

Strawberries are tough they can be planted outside well before last frost date. I started mine here in April last couple years without a problem and I am in a colder zone. Last frost is early June here. My strawberry starts weathered snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain followed by a deep freeze just fine uncovered. SFG book says strawberries can be planted a month before last frost date once soil is thawed and is not soggy. I have gotten away with 2-3 months early as the soil was thawed early the last few years.

Just so you are aware, stawberries don't produce much their first year as they spend most of their energy getting established and putting out runners. In SFG it is recommended 4/square and trim off the runners to keep them contained. I gave my strawberries their own box and let them run to fill up the box. Each start can put out 2-3 runners each -- each runner can generate 2-3 new plants easily.

The chipmunks ate all the strawberries last year before they turned red. I'll have to find a deterent for them this year if I want some, or to grow a lot more so we can share.

The snow has just receded here enough to uncover my strawberries and they are already starting to green up. Only the top couple inches of soil is unfrozen so far here.


Last edited by bullfrogbabe on 4/10/2011, 9:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Is it too early to plant strawberries in zone 6

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/10/2011, 9:38 am

That depends on you and what you want. I have a seperate area with a home made pyramid (bottom layer only at this time) for them. My plants are 3 years old, I pulled them all this year and had about 50 plants. I layed weed block, newspaper, cardboard, and newspaper down, then added soil and plants. I have them in an area where not just weeds were popping up but trees as well. I spaced them out again and now they go all the way around the circle. I need to get my top layer in ASAP so they don't spread into the middle. Last year I trained the shoots or runners to go where I wanted them to, but I had to stay on top of it. If you can spare the space, then yes, give them their own spot. Most of us have our strawberries and other berries in containers or other boxes, and don't worry about the grid, we save that for veggies and such. It does not make you any less of a SFGner for having other boxes, containers, hanging things, just creative.
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Strawberries

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 4/10/2011, 11:09 am

B-frogBabe, trying to share strawberries with chipmunks is time totally wasted--'monks eat berries green, and they DO NOT share. Last year, after the 'munks--seemingly in a pact with deer and elk--proceeded to eat all the strawberries, all the honeyberries, all the black currents and were chasing the birds away from the feeders, PapaVino (grandkids' name for grandpa) got riled. When it finally turned from fall to winter, he'd racked up 45 kills. This year, I have two new strawberry beds, both covered with an arch of heavy bird netting over chicken wire, inside the new deer-fenced garden area. So far, so good. I'll use some of the 2-year-old plants from the old bed to plant up two hanging planters on the deck, for quick snacking until the new beds are producing better. Then, the unfenced and unprotected original 2X24 bed will be cleaned out and readied for planting to garlic in late August. No four foot has ever bothered our garlic........so far.

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