strawberry plants help...!

vieja_gw(z7NM)March 6, 2013

my strawberry bed has invaded everything! When should I divide & start a new patch... keep only the new runners & discard the old plants? I see those HUGE (but flavorless!) strawberries in restaurants & wonder about the size of a plant that would grow/hold those berries?!! I have a mix of June bearing & everbearing but neither of those plants get big & the berries are good tasting but not too big & more fragile than the store bought berries... ?due to the varieties or soil or fertilizer? What is a good fertilizer ratio for strawberries? In Redbluff, Calif. my father-in-law raised strawberries & the plants (and berries) WERE BIG & delicious but the fertilizer was applied in the irrigation water! Wasn't sure how long the original strawberry plants were still good or when they needed to be replaced?

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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

I think it's kind of learn as you go. My small patch is a few years old and the first couple of years I tried to control it. Just became too much work and worry, so last year I just let it go and this year I'll see what happens. I renovated after harvest, and thinned it a little by removing a few of the old crowns, and directed a few runners into the blank spots. I did learn to fertilize with a 5-10-5, or a 10-10 10 in the fall after harvest, and NOT in the spring. Mine are Junebearing also, not that large, but pretty sweet. My patch is probably overcrowded now, but I like to experiment a little.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 2:05PM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

Viejita,
That was our problem too. Too much bending over. I hear they require a lot of pinching of new growth to steer from producing runners to producing fruit. And the slugs. In NM you proll dont have to worry much. put them on drip lines and don't irrigate anywhere else so they dont spread easily.
el gordo

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 8:02AM
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vieja_gw(z7NM)

I guess I will start over & pamper just a few plants in a row, fertilize them well & keep the runners under control rather than let them make a huge mixed bed of old & new plants! Oh we do have slugs to control & I keep a netting over the bed as the birds like the berries too! I just wondered if the commercial strawberry growers that grow the plants for the fruit to harvedt, use a different variety of plants? My father-in-law just raised the plants for a nursey to sell that season & the plants were huge ! Auto watered with sprinklers from a big tank that had the fertilizer already in the water.The berries produced that season were large, firm & delicious too. but they were not picked to sell so left for the deer & us!

The strawberries we got from our patch were very good tasting but not very large nor very firm... think they were Quinalt, Sequoia & Ozark Beauty.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 11:35AM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

It probably has a lot to do with the varieties. The last 3 years I've grown all 3 of the varieties you mention plus All Star. Most all of the berries were small to medium in size and melting soft. They were delicious! I think the commercial varieties are suppost to be firm for shipping purposes. This past fall I renovated my strawberry bed and replaced all my plants with a variety called Sweet Charlie because it's suppost to be more prolific in my zone than the other varieties. So far I've gotten about a dozen berries but it's still very early in the season for me. They are medium to small size right now but very firm. That may change as the weather heats up but I'm pretty sure they will stay firm and not melting like my previous varieties. Honestly I prefer the texture of my previous varieties but my 3 boys like them none the less! Really I don't get to eat but a hand full every season anyway because of them! That's what its all about for me any ways. Nothing I love more than watching them graze in the garden!!!;)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 12:32PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

It probably has a lot to do with the varieties. The last 3 years I've grown all 3 of the varieties you mention plus All Star. Most all of the berries were small to medium in size and melting soft. They were delicious! I think the commercial varieties are suppost to be firm for shipping purposes. This past fall I renovated my strawberry bed and replaced all my plants with a variety called Sweet Charlie because it's suppost to be more prolific in my zone than the other varieties. So far I've gotten about a dozen berries but it's still very early in the season for me. They are medium to small size right now but very firm. That may change as the weather heats up but I'm pretty sure they will stay firm and not melting like my previous varieties. Honestly I prefer the texture of my previous varieties but my 3 boys like them none the less! Really I don't get to eat but a hand full every season anyway because of them! That's what its all about for me any ways. Nothing I love more than watching them graze in the garden!!!;)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 12:33PM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

I guess a low nitrogen analysis fertilizer is best if they're running everywhere.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 3:34PM
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vieja_gw(z7NM)

'noogy':yes, I thought I would increase the phospohorus & decrease the nitrogen also ... maybe make the plants sturdier?

Our dogs also love to eat the strawberries if they get nto the patch!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 4:06PM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

Yeah, our chickens tried that move. Nothing like a caldo de gallina!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 5:15PM
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marklucas

Some of the fertilizers contain chemical mix of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium; with a tinge of some trace minerals. Some of fertilizer bags commonly list these elements on it with their ratio as in N-P-K system.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 1:31AM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

I would only fertilize with compost... Would mulch with leaves(minerals,etc).. Would also add woodash, kelp, and rockdust just to make sure your soil is nice and remineralized.. Personally, I just use woodash and leaves with some compost and a cover crop of winter rye for my annuals... Rock dust and kelp is a little expensive for my liking... As for the firm, huge strawberries you see in the store - They are ten to one genetically modified( thats why they are huge... They are sprayed with tons of fungicides,etc. They are picked unripe(nice and firm). Then before they're shipped sprayed
with more preservatives.. if they come from out of the country they are irradiated for disease,etc.. All these factors come into play other than variety... You guys probably already are aware of this, that's why you're growing your own food... Stay smart, stay safe, eat of your backyard...

Joe

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 7:45AM
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vieja_gw(z7NM)

our soil tested deficient in phosphorus & nitrogen (we have clay/caliche soils which we have composted over the years in the gardens); potash is mined here in the state so it is ok. We use bags of 16-20-0 for the lawns but also some in the garden soil. Add a little more of the super phoshorus as the fruits,veggies come on the plants. Barnyard manure we used to use but the big dairies here don't have pasture grazed cows so don't use any of that smelly stuff! City sells bags of pasturized swewage but I don't trust that 'stinky' stuff either!!

Guess since the strawberries are prolific, sweet but small & 'soft-ish' I will try & be content & enjoy them! Thanks for all the good advise!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:58AM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

I personally would rather use cow manure/ sewage sludge rather than the chemicals that ruin the soil organisms,etc. That being said, I don't use manure,sludge, or any questionable fertilizer.. Compost, leaves, and other mulches are far enough sustain a plant. It is most likely the variety that makes the small strawberries.. It could be that your adding to much nitrogen from the lawn fertilizer and it's adding vigor to the plant, but at cost of quality fruit.. However, I would still try and remineralize your soil with woodash,leave compost, rockdust,etc.. These additives can only help the soil and lead to better tasting fruit,etc... Woodash is an exception, it is highl y alkaline and should be used in moderation, I apply a light dusting
occasionally.Personally, I would stop the chemical fertilizer. Poultry manure does alot more for Your lawn than that synthetic poison... Hope this helps.

Joe

Joe

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 12:17PM
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vieja_gw(z7NM)

When we had friends with pasture raised/grazing (not stockyard!) cows, we often would get some of that manure and when we had a few hens here in the city I would use the chicken droppings like my Iowa grandmolther used to do: fill a barrel with water & add the chicken manure to the barrel to make a manure 'tea' she called it & she would carefully take a bucket of that diluted stuff & pour around in her garden. She'd add more water as the 'tea' got stronger!
No, I haven't used any commercial fertilizer on the strawberry bed at all yet. I remember in western Wisconson along the Mississippi River our strawberry bed was in quite sandy soil, never added any kind of fertilizer & got the biggest, juciest & firm berries. We planted them in rows & trained the runners to go into the spaces between the rows. These then the next year this new row would be the new berries & we pulled up the previous row of berries.It was a daily chore to go out & pick another pan of ripe berries .... can't believe it but we actually got so tired of strawberries & couldn't give them away as everyone else had a patch of berries too!

I will try some of the suggestions but wonder if I used leaf mulch (like I use on the garden) if it would smother the plants in a couple of years?

Can't wait now to also get some of the Triple Crown thornless blackberries x the plant that I have problems with from taking over everywhere!! Really great berries but it sure is vigorous.... no problem with the size of them like the strawberries for sure & I start cuttings of the blackberries for friends who love them too!! So true, the store bought huge berries (like the ones for dipping in the chocolate fountain at Golden Corral!) are big but 'chewy' & no flavor!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:57PM
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tammyinwv(z6/WV)

I have a raised bed with strawberries that I planted about 2 yrs ago. This will be the third season for them. They have tripled in numbers. Running out of the edges of the bed. I have started moving these to another section of the bed. I probably need to thin them some. They are june bearing.
For these those two years I have only gotten a ahndful or so of berries each yr. last year i did some research and found that june bearing berries should be mowed over , 2" above the crown when they are done bearing. So Last yr, around late June, I cut mine off. In the raised bed I couldnt use a mower. This year they are absolutely loaded with blooms. at least triple what they have had in the last 2 yrs TOTAL. You can read more and see pics at link below.
Tammy

Here is a link that might be useful: My Strawberries

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 12:26PM
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treehugger101

I have tried everything imaginable for 10 years to get a really big harvest. This might be of use. Last year, I transplanted my strawberries into long oval hard rubber tubs from Tractor Supply Company. They might be for water for ducks or animals. The water tubs are about 30" long and 5" high. I planted the berries in top soil + compost. No drainage holes. It is a very heavy soil. This year, I have more blooms than I ever have. I have two tubs now but will get a few more next time I stop by the farm store. I have no idea why the berries love this arrangement but I am hoping for nice fruit this year.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 2:54PM
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ltilton

They look excellent.

I'd still poke a couple of drainage holes in the bottoms of those tubs

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 3:49PM
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pinc06(6b)

Very healthy looking pot o berries!

Felt I needed to comment on the repeated suggestion of using woodash on the strawberries. Strawberries like acid soil. Woodash is indeed a rare heavy source of potash, but it immediately and drastically raises the soil ph. Google woodash ph garden and you'll find several websites that caution how to use woodash safely in the garden. That list includes Purdue, Oregon State, and Maine. Personally, I put my woodash into my compost bin as that buffers the ph change and makes the potash more available thruout the compost,

HTH

Pam in cinti

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 11:21AM
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Gretchen Wood

I have a question and am sure you all can help me regarding transplanting of strawberry plants into containers.
I have runners and maybe about 12 strawberry plants that I want to dig up and already have happy homes for them. What should I do when I dig them up? Give them rooting hormone or fertilizer? I want the other people to have success like I have.
I live in Carrollton TX near DFW airport

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 6:14PM
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