Strawberry report [under plastic]
Last year, I had enough of the weeds and mold infesting my strawberry bed, and I made a change, dug everything up, and planted a new bed under plastic weed barrier. This is my do-it-yourself version of strawberry plasticulture.
Short version, now that the season is winding down: it works. No problem with weeds in the bed. Almost no sign of botrytis, despite a notably wet season.
I planted Chandler and Cavendish, because I could get them late in the year and they are supposed to do well in plasticulture. They did. There wasn't much to distinguish the two varieties in terms of size and flavor; both are firm. I thought Chandler would be larger, but not really. Cavendish is a couple days later and seems to set a little more fruit.
I was worried about Cavendish in particular during last year's cold winter, but the plants survived very well under the snow cover here in N IL.
The one complaint I have is about Chandler's habit of ripening. The tip of the fruit remains white for too long after the rest is ripe-red. One white tip is visible in the photo of today's pick. [The flash made the color too light, these berries are actually dark red] If I plant more of these, I'd pick the Cavendish.
Commercial plasticulture growers treat these plants as annuals. I could do that, but my plan this year, at least, is to save these crowns and remove the runners, looking to increase the crowns. I'll use a liquid fert applied near the crown, once harvest is over.
Generally, though, I'd recommend this method for people having trouble with weeds and/or rot.