Keeping strawberries from rotting on the ground

ffreidlJuly 28, 2013

It's a bit late for this question, but I'm thinking ahead to next year...

Every year, I get a nice crop of strawberries but I also lose many of them to rot wherever they're touching the ground.

I've tried various mulches - pine needles, straw, wood chips - and the results are better than raw earth, but still not that great. Once the mulches get damp (and with the strawberry leaves shading them, they kind of stay that way) they start decomposing and taking the strawberries with them.

The strawberries that do best for me are the ones that have draped over the sides of the raised bed (i.e. not sitting on ground at all), so therefore, I'm thinking I need to find a way to get my strawberry fruits off the ground. Towards that end, I have all kinds of kooky ideas for next year - i.e. running string "nets" between the plants, or laying some wood pieces between rows for the plants to drape the fruit over, etc.

But on the other hand, I don't notice other people doing such elaborate things....

So I guess my real question is: Is this a common problem, and how do most people solve it in their gardens?

If you're using straw mulch, etc., do you not find that some of your berries are still rotting where they sit on the mulch?

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ltilton

I'm trying plastic for next year. That's how a lot of commercial growers do it.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 3:58PM
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beeman_gardener(5)

We have suffered in the past with gritty fruit from touching the ground. Fixed it this year, using cheap plastic forks.
Push the handle end into the soil and drape the fruit stem over the fork tines, keeping it high enough not to touch the ground.
Works a treat.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:15PM
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drewbym(MO6B)

Slugs may also be contributing to your problem.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:28PM
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ffreidl

Cheap plastic forks - that's kind of brilliant!! I might give that a try!

-ff

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 3:47PM
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