ernie85017, zn 9, phxMay 31, 2012

Is anyhone in the Phoenix area growing strawberries? WIth success?

Please post about where, how planted, all the details. I keep trying = and failing. I did get a few, which were incredible. Those hollow things in the stores are not strawberries!

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I planted transplants in September so they'd have plenty of time to grow before setting fruit. I think that's the key to them growing well. I'd tried to plant them in Feb. before and they only had a few berries on each plant.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 2:34PM
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ernie85017, zn 9, phx

Kate:What area did you plant? Shady? In the ground or containers? I have done both and just not done well. The ones I have now are in a container. They aren't dying, but not doing much else, either.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 1:47PM
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I planted mine in my raised beds. They got about 4-5 hours of sun in the winter months and about 7 now. Under 50% shade cloth for the heat, until they die. A month or so before I planted them I added compost to the entire bed. They seemed to love that. They are extremely sensitive to salt, so you could try watering yours with your RO water to see if it helps (I have the bed on a drip system and help it out every few days with the hose). Did you get the June bearing plants? I've never had luck with the ever-bearing type.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 7:48PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

"...Under 50% shade cloth for the heat, until they die...."

So, Kate - you're treating them like annuals? I never considered that...

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 2:12PM
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The ones I bought are. There are two types of strawberries you'll find here. Ever-bearing (perennials) and June-bearing (annuals). Some types the annuals will live through the summer, but I've never had any do that.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 6:28PM
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ernie85017, zn 9, phx

I thought they didn't die, but went dormant until cooler weather. That's what I remember the Garden Guy saying about growing strawberries in AZ.

I forget which month I planted. Nonetheless, they aren't living up to their potential. How long do you expect yours to last into summer?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 9:38PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Thanks for the info, that's quite helpful.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 11:20AM
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My strawberry experience has been kind of mixed. I've got just one planted in the backyard(south)that will be 2 years old if it survives this summer! I believe it's a Sequoia variety...bought it at Baker's.
The first year it bloomed prolifically in the Spring, and yielded a delicious, if modest, batch of strawberries. Going into the summer, if I recall correctly, it started producing more fruit, but by then the crickets started eating all of the fruit, to my consternation. Due to being shaded by a sprawling tomato plant, it somehow stayed alive through the summer.
This spring, while it looked ok and produced blooms, some critter or other ate all the fruit.Booooo! However, I don't think it was crickets this time, because they usually don't dominate until summer. So a bit of a mystery.
He was starting to look a little crisp a few weeks ago, so I bought a little 50% shade screen and now he's back to a deep dark lovely green all around.

However, what I haven't told you yet is all the other strawberry plants I've had (probably 5 or 6) have died a miserable death before even the worst of June; so I have no idea why...too much water, not enough?! The one that survived last summer was planted in hard muddy non-amended soil, whereas all the others were in store bought potting soil. Maybe they prefer to be packed in tight? Who knows. But I will keep trying because I do think they are pretty even without fruit!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 5:09PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Well, that sounds promising - I hope you'll keep us updated on its progress throughout the summer.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:38PM
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kathleen10(z9b AZ)

I grew up in MI and we had an acre with sandy soil. It was a farm, subdivided, after the farmer had exhausted the land. Mom grew regular strawberries very successfully in that soil. In fact, the entire neighborhood had those tiny wild strawberries popping up including the undeveloped lots and the woods behind that. Gosh, those were the days. We had blackberries growing as 8-10' tall hedges too.

Of course we don't have climate or soil here much like MI. But I also recall going out to vast acres of pick-your-own strawberry farms as a young adult there and the soil was the same: sandy, medium to light brown, just marginally "good" as we tend to think about optimal soil. It was certainly not anything close to the texture and composition we tend to revere these days - the deep dark, humus filled deluxe potting soil type without much visible evidence of sand.

Just asked my 90 yr old mom and she said the poor sandy soil there was the reason she choose strawberries, they need a sandy soil. So I guess they might do well here in lightly amended soil if we can figure out how to keep them watered, sheltered enough from the sun and kept from the ravenous critters. There is nothing I would love more than to grow them, just have not tried. But perhaps I will now -- if I ever get going on a fully enclosed 6 sided chicken wire "cube", a wire armored garden house, if you will.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 11:47PM
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George Brookbank's "Desert Gardening Fruits & Vegetables" covers strawberry growing in AZ quite extensively. I've used his advice in OV with some success.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 12:41AM
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