Raised Strawberry

mpoland33July 22, 2013

I am starting my strawberry patch over and want to get everyone's opinion. I am in the process of making a raised corner patch with one section on the ground, one raised, and one smaller raised above that.

What would be the latest I could plant them this year for a crop next year?

What type of strawberry plants would you recommend? What variety?

Would you recommend different ones for different levels of the patch?

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I am not an expert. There are others on this forum who know more than me. There are others who grow more efficiently and effectively.

I have a tiny area for strawberries. I have 4 varieties that ripen in succession (they do overlap.) This spreads out my harvest. This year for example, I harvested from 6/4 through 6/30. (The last couple of days were weak.) Due to my limited space, each of my varieties is planted in a 37"x45" rectanglar clump. Except for the last couple of days, I usually harvest enough for 3 good size servings of strawberries per day.

If instead of fresh eating, your focus is on making jam or freezing them, then having all of your berries ripen at one time might be a good idea. In that case,you might want to stick with a single variety.

If you want to extend your harvest period for fresh eating, and if you have enough space to yield the amount you are looking for, then multiple varieties that ripen at slightly different times might be a good choice.

For reference, check out Nourse Farms: http://noursefarms.com/category/strawberries/
Their website lists strawberry varieties as early, early middle, middle, late middle, or late, according to relative to ripening times. If you have enough space for each variety to yield the quantity you want, you could pick an early variety, a middle variety, and a late variety.

If you run across "everbearing" or "day neutral" strawberries, these are a little different in their harvest dates. In theory, they produce few berries at any one time, but have an extended harvest season. For my purposes, I found that it wasn't worth fighting the birds for a couple of berries at a time. However, there are other gardeners who are happy with these.

At this time, it will be difficult for you to get any choice on strawberry varieties. The best way to get varieties of your choosing is to order from a quality mail order nursery early in the year, say January or February. They won't ship them at that time, but if you don't order early, they will sell out. In addition to Nourse Farms, their are several other mail order nurseries that have good reputations among the members of gardenweb.

Nourse Farms has a nice chart with their strawberry's characteristics (in addition to relative ripening season) in their paper catalog. http://noursefarms.com/helpful-info/catalog-request/

Sorry, can't help you with your other questions.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 12:35PM
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If you're a commercial grower in the south, you can get thousands of strawberries for late fall planting. If you're a gardener and want 50 or a hundred plants, good luck.

Strawberries like a lot of water, but they're susceptible to rot if they rest on wet ground. I'd suggest you raise your lowest level as well. Make sure you'll be able to reach all areas of the bed for picking. Also plan for a way to net the entire bed when the fruit gets ripe, to keep off the birds.

You don't mention the size of the bed you're planning, but you'll have to do all the work of renovation by hand, so it shouldn't be prohibitively large.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 1:10PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Good answers isoh! I have one Everbearing called ÃÂlan F1 and it produces ton's of strawberries. The plant has produced about 50-75 strawberries so far and no sign of it stopping. One plant. It has only produced one runner, which I will keep!, Also the 1st berries were very tart, now half ripe berries are sweet. I guess strawberry plants need some time to establish so don't judge them by the first berries. Sometimes it's the perfect storm, this variety might not produce for you, as conditions differ.
I just planted strawberries this year and removed flowers from my June bearing plants, so have no comment on them at this time. next year I'll decide which ones to keep. But ÃÂlan is one I will grow for sure, excellent Everbearing no doubt! Also handled weather extremes well, where others produced poor berries this one cranked out perfect berries under bad conditions.

One comment about the pyramid type bed is I'm not sure how you will handle runners? Berries put out runners galore. You will be continually removing them if you do not have space for them. Since plants only last a few years renewal by runners is a must. I will only let my strawberries have 3 seasons, then they will be removed and replaced by runners.The removal of the old plants will allow room for new runners.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 1:19PM
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That is GREAT info! Thanks guys.

I am growing probably for a mixture between jams and daily eating really.

The entire area is 66" x 73" so it's not huge by any means.

I never thought about the runner issue. I had talked to others about it but they never mentioned it. I'll have to think about that.

I've had Home depot strawberries (no clue o nthe variety) for about 4 years in the same area on the ground but we had a rhubarb plant that was blocking a lot of my sun. I'm pretty excited to see what grows now that we moved that.

I'd love to take the bottom level and raise it as well but we're on a tight budget and I'm out of wood and the dirt it would take for that space. It would cut into my plants.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 2:17PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

The raised bed in piers will look or does look awesome I'm sure. You can cut off the runners. 25 strawberries from the mail order nurseries is usually under $15.00, so you could just buy new ones once they stop producing. It's not a big deal. Besides the nursery mentioned, Nourse Farms (which is top rate btw). Sakuma offers berries cheap! http://shop.sakumabros.com/strawberry-plants.aspx
I never bought from them, but heard say they are a good place. My favorite berry nursery is Indiana Berry. I bought raspberries from them, and they were cheap and excellent plants. Very impressive.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 2:46PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

OK, some more comments, my dog and scare tape seem to have kept the birds away! You can get scare tape at groworganic.com Plant the berries this fall, you're zone 6. Probably no later than October. September would be best.
I'm trying various types this year and next to see what works here. I use 4x4 beds and have 3 of them. All of them have a blueberry plant in the middle, and the blueberry will have the whole bed to itself eventually when the plant get's bigger. Here is a photo of my beds, well a partial shot. See the runners hanging over the sides. The first two beds had 8 plants put in around the outer border, the runners are filling all empty spaces.
Behind them is a row of Raspberries. All plants were put in this spring.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 3:00PM
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