Strawberries in pots

happyhelperOctober 15, 2013

I transplanted my strawberries into one gallon containers about one month ago. They are doing fine and have rooted in the pots. I do not have any ground prepared for them and want to overwinter them in these pots.
What do I need to do to keep them alive during the winter? Our temperatures have only been going down to around 10 degrees during the last few winters.
Would a bunch of straw over the whole bunch work? There are about 100 gal pots all sitting together.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Pots in your zone are a problem. They get wet then freeze the roots. Unless you actually heat them, i don't know how you can prevent it? In general not a good idea. I would never try it, I would put them in the garage.

This post was edited by Drew51 on Wed, Oct 16, 13 at 23:43

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 11:41PM
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happyhelper

That's what I'm afraid of. I think if I put them in my garden shed they would freeze in there also and there are too many plants for the garage. Maybe, digging a trench and placing them in it and drawing the dirt around them would work for the winter. What do you think?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 7:52AM
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lsoh

happyhelper,

How well they weather the winter depends upon how hardy the strawberries are. The rule of thumb is that plants will over winer in pots if they are rated for 1 or 2 zones colder than your environment. Your zone is listed as 5b. So your strawberries are probably ok if rated to zone 3 or maybe 4 without further protection. But I would take further measures.

If you bury the pots in the ground, that would probably bring the situation to normal. Or, you could bury the pots in leaves and that should bring the situation close to in-ground. As mentioned, you could bring the pots into an unheated garage.

I live in zone 5. I over wintered strawberries in pots for 2 winters by bringing them into an unheated workshop. I also overwinter cherries, blueberries, plums, mulberries, and gooseberries in pots by burying the pots in leaves. So far, no problem. But we haven't seen a -20F winter since I started doing this. In areas where they have snow all winter, gardeners report that the snow is sufficient insulation.

If you bury the pots in leaves, pile the leaves higher than you want them. They settle a lot.

If you bring potted plants in for the winter, they won't need much water, but do not let them dry out.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 9:18AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

The trench idea, or even the shed, may work. Experiment as Isoh has pointed out it can be done. This has really been a good thread, as I learned a lot from Isoh, thanks buddy!
I tried to over winter some garlic, but the pots got so wet then froze. They all died. I should have put them in the shed or garage. It was the excessive moisture that did them in. They can handle being moist, just not soaked.

I was thinking of growing some zone 7 blueberries in zone 6a. I was going to winter in the garage. It sounds like it will work. The garage is unheated, but enough heat from the house is transferred so it's always warmer there than outside. I could put them out during warm days

Back to your situation i think the trench is the better method. They will still get sun exposure, cover them in straw, shredded leaves or pine straw.

I grow a bunch of strawberries too, in raised beds. I have June, everbearing, musk, pineberries, and alpine.
My alpines and everbearing are still producing btw.
Not that many a day, 3-5 berries a day. But I get 30 raspberries a day so I mix them, and freeze the extra raspberries for later use. So cool to eat fresh berries everyday. I really enjoy picking them daily. Both strawberries and raspberries will produce till first frost. I have been having a daily harvest since July. Next year it will be June!

This post was edited by Drew51 on Thu, Oct 17, 13 at 11:01

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 10:53AM
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happyhelper

Yeah, I think I will try the trench method. I live close to Columbus, Ohio and we have not had very cold-cold weather for the last two years but I have seen it go -15 degrees. Thanks so much for your help.

My experience with strawberries at this location has been sad. The first year I put them in the ground and covered them with straw. In the Spring I uncovered them expecting to see strawberry plants. I saw none! There were only mole holes under the straw covering.

The next year I planted them in a new location at the end of the horse pasture. They did fine and all came up nicely the next Spring. However, the rabbits ate the leaves as they came up. The plants that had strawberries on them were devoured by the birds as soon as they ripened.

This fall I pulled out the good plants and re-potted them in the one gallon pots. The field has not been prepared for planting the strawberries, hence the pots.

My raspberry plants have ripening raspberries on them now. The weather has started to turn cold here. I think we will probably have a frost next week.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 4:57PM
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emorems0(PA - 6a)

I'm just northwest of Pittsburgh and I had a one gallon pot of strawberries overwinter upside-down in the middle of my front lawn one year... I assumed they were dead and at some point the dog's line caught on the pot and dragged it out in the middle of the lawn. Lo and behold when I picked them up while cleaning up the lawn in the Spring there were new green leaves! I'm not sure what variety they were, they never produced well in the pot or in the ground... but they survived a Pittsburgh winter in a 1 gallon pot, completely unprotected.

In your shoes, I'd probably just leave them outside, up against a heated structure like a house/heated garage and put some straw around them for extra insulation/wind protection.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 11:44PM
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canadianplant

Ive planted strawberries in the fall up here in zone 4 with no problems. As long as they are mulched and or somewhat protected, even with some snow you shouldnt have too many problems. I planted one in november one warm season, and it is still alive 4 years later.

The way I see it is, if you are going to go though the trouble of proteting them in the pots over the winter, its probably better off to just plant them, and mulch. Them being in the ground will protect them better then any above ground protection generally can.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 6:03AM
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happyhelper

Thanks for all your help. I finally decided that if I was going to go to all that work to trench them in, I might as well just plant them in the ground. I am doing so now. There might not be enough room in the area I'm planting in for all the plants so I still may have some in pots. I think canadianplant finally helped me make the decision.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 7:42AM
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canadianplant

The roots will still be sensitive to freezing, so please make sure you mulch them very well for the first winter. Just use some leaves you rake up. It also will break down and add some nutrients to the soil.

Just mount the leaves untill its a good 6 inches deep and they should be fine.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 8:34AM
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