growing strawberries between other plants

vjeko(Croatia, 9)April 28, 2013

A couple of years ago I was given some strawberries which due to lack of knowledge I allowed to multiply and grow all over the place. Those strawberries were flowering without having them grow to a reasonable size and my dear "friends" the ants were always eating them before I got to them - I just had no time.

I know a little more now and although I'm still short of time, I would like to transplant some of them to one location and do the rotation every 3 years or so.

I'm not sure what sort of strawberries they are - they are flowering now and continue to do so for most of the year.

The thing is, I don't have very much space. I have the following areas available for planting:
(a)vegetable garden area which is surrounded by berries along one border (the west side fence) and grape vines along the other three borders and has 3 raised beds (concrete blocks) in the middle.
(b)grapevines and a few kiwis along the east and south fences of the property with a row of mandarins in front of the vines on the south lfence.
(c)another row of mandarins 2 meters behind the row in (b)

With strawberry diseases etc. is it wise to grow them between/near the mandarins , between the grape vines , between the berries or only in the raised beds (would like to keep the raised beds for vegetables and I guess growing them next to berries may not be so good as I needed to add some apple vinegar to the soil of the berries to make it a bit more acidic) ?

BTW - I'm interested in 100% organic growing and have worm compost - and I am a little crazy about the number of plants
I am packing into the small area around my house ;) .

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Hard to say for sure. I always give strawberries their own area, so I can't speak to shoehorning them into random places. Why not give it a try and see how it works for you? Strawberries are not very finicky from my experience, but by trying different locations in your yard you may find a sweet spot.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 7:20PM
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I would definitely recommend planting your strawberries between your grape vines. I have done this myself and I have not seen any negative consequences. You would be surprised how many different types of plants can be grown next to each other besides just the three sisters.

I have my strawberries growing in a hill system between the grapes. Each row(or hill) spans the distance between the individual grape vines, which in my case is about 4-5 ft of strawberry row. Growing strawberries under a grape trellis has many advantages. Because my strawberries are planted in black weed fabric, the grapes are growing in a weed free environment which reduces disease pressure caused by tall weeds. It also saves space by eliminating the need for an "independent" strawberry patch. The only thing you have to be careful about with a hill system is to make sure that you don't let the soil from the hill cover up the grape graft. The strawberries still get plenty of sun because the grape leaves don't start until much higher up the trellis.

If you have any more questions, let me know.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 11:03PM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

i THINK that's a great way to go. I let my musk strawberries crawl where they want to go. That's their natural way. It helps diversity.

I also have a dedicated "regular" strawberry patch that I put compost on and allow a few other plants in to increase diversity.

Grapes and kiwis are also great for diversity.

Mine are also grown 100% organic.
John S

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 1:13AM
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vjeko(Croatia, 9)

Thanks for all the answers ! Hope you don't mind a "few" more questions to clarify things for me ;):

(a)Did some more reading and as written here and from what I've read elsewhere, people are using a variety of mulches from synthetics, to pine needles/hay/grass clippings and no mulch. I would somehow prefer either the organics or no mulch. Would grass clippings dried for a few days or no mulch really work ?

(b)One of my problems in the past was that something always ate the strawberry fruit before I got to them - I always found ants around/in the half eaten fruit, so I thought it was them, but guess it could be slugs/snails or small lizards /guessing). Any ideas on a solution (snails I can do a flashlight search) - but ants and lizards ?

(c)I saw varying info on yield per plant - just wondering how many plants I should keep (have around 60 plants of various age growing all over the place) .

(d)As far as I understand, 3 years is the time to aim for growing them in the one spot. So I need to plan the rotation spot and would like to know what can be grown there now (it'll be along another fence between grapevines/kiwis or between the mandarins - so I could keep it empty but with little room for growing things, it seems like a waste to leave it empty.
How far away from the present planting area should it be (the row of mandarins is parallel and only a couple of meters away from the fence

(e)As far as I understand strawberries should be renewed every three years and I've read that a good practice is to renew 1/3 of the plants yearly. Is there a particular order to have them planted so that new runners replace the old plants or do you plant the runners in pots ? How do you tell a plant is "too old" - I've read that the plants have multiple crowns matted together - do you only leave the single crown plants ?.

(f)Other than de-flowering plants that are young to force
growth of plant instead of fruit - is partial de-flowering practiced to get bigger fruit ?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 2:50AM
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I grow strawberries as a ground cover (amung the other 10 or so I have). The only thing you may see is a bit less yeild due to some of the shade of other plants. IF you have to dig them up it isnt a big deal either (just be careful if youre digging around your trees).

Im in the same boat as well, I dont have too much room, yet I still have 8 kinds f strawberry!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 6:46AM
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It's ironic that this post was put up for myself as well. I was thinking of doing a raised bed in front of our sun room and putting caroline raspberries in it. Between the raspberry bushes I was debating on doing strawberries. I guess it is feasible!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 8:51PM
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vjeko(Croatia, 9)

Nothing ironic - I think most things have been done before ;) - just us poor little humans need to learn everything before we know it ;)

About the raspberries - I needed to make the soil more acidic (sprayed a little diluted apple vinegar) for my berries - now they've really taken off - not sure if the pH will be OK for the strawberries.

Hopefully someone can give some thoughts on my last questions.

skyjs and canadianplant - what are the other cover crops you are using and what sort of mulch are you using ? Any info on how much fruit you get per plant would be interesting. What arrangement of initial plants and replacement strategy do you use ?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 4:01AM
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I use oragano, lemon balm, mint, yarrow, strawberries (up to 8 kinds now), white and red clover and dandelion (yes, dandelion). Probably some more i cant think of right now.

For mulch I use leaves, and this year am getting straw and sawdust, along with some bags of cedar mulch. For acidic plants, i try (but cant always) from some pine needles and some used coffee gorunds (some anedcotal evidence on raising acidity, but there is some stating that it helps the iron uptake in acidic plants, so...)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 6:32AM
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