overwintering/bringing on strawberry plants

lucyfretwell(ireland)October 6, 2008

This was such a bad summer with the month long rain and lack of sunshine that I have only now got around to preparing a few strawberry plants into plastic pots.

They don't have as much roots on them as I would like and I am improvising to make them keep on growing ,making roots and leaves if at all possible. (I have no greenhouse ,heated or otherwise)

I am placing them on the top of a pile of warm stable manure that is against an East facing wall .I also cover them with fleece (US= Remay).

Around 3pm I move them to a South facing wall nearby to get the evening sun- and move them back to the manure heap for the night and following morning

Will I have suuccess in doing any of this?

Would it help to position some aluminium foil behind/ around to capture extra sunlight?

I know I am being boneheaded and also stingy as I could just buy extra plants but even then theyb woulld probably not do much for me until the following year...

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I recently got a bucket full of strawberry starts. They came to me after having been soaked in a bucket of water and root stimulator. I transplanted them to their temporary location (a kiddie pool filled with a mix of partially composted horse manure mixed with hay and/or straw, covered with a sheer curtain to act as a row cover) since their permanant raised bed isn't built yet. A few had roots, most did not. The day after I planted them, they turned brown and mostly dead looking, but the crowns still felt solid. After about 2 weeks (I have misted them daily), there are signs of life! I have some new leaves coming up. I don't know how the root growth is going, since I don't want to do any damage. I'm just hoping they survive the cold spell we're having (it's 33F out right now) and grow some roots before winter sets in for real.

This is my first time with strawberries, so now that you've read this, you'll see, I don't really have a solid answer for you, but I'm learning that they can be tough little buggers, so there may be more hope than you think.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 10:42PM
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As I understand it growth stops below about 7 or 8 degrees. (what is that about 45 Farhenheit?) and that is why I have them on top of a warh manure heap (the warmth seems to be fading now....)
I am able to check for root growth without disturbing the plants as they are individually potted and I can lift them up and see if the roots are protruding (also if they are white and not brown which is new growth)
You have them in partially composted horse manure/straw so I hope it is not too fresh so it burns the roots(is that what the roots are actually growing in?
I would imagine that the straw/hay will give a bit of warmth (along with the sheer curtain) but I am not sure if you will get the temperature above the 45 degrees (of course you will when the sun shines)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 7:37AM
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Thanks for the info on the temps. I should have mentioned that is was nighttime temps that are that cool. Our days have been much warmer, anywhere from 50F (10C) to 75F (24C) the last few days, so I'll still have growth for a while. It is also very sunny here (they say 300 days of sunshine per year), so that will help even as is gets cooler. We're below freezing right now (night) but I covered the pool with a blanket and a sheet of plastic. I'm trying to keep them from freezing, and to keep root growth going. Once they do freeze though, they should be mulched to keep them frozen, right?

The horse manure may not have been the best choice, but it's what I had. I didn't plan to get these plants yet, but the opportunity for free plants came up, and I had to take it! I figure I'll do my best, and at worst, I'll have to get some more in the spring, and do a better job!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 1:56AM
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yes I suppose that once they get properly frozen you will have to call a halt and maybe tuck them in for the winter (I am not familiar with that (mulching) procedure but it would make sense as it would stop the plants unnecessarily attempting to make growth and wasting energy in Winter -not that mine do and we have no frost here at all normally.I think they wait for temperatures to rise well above freezing before they start to grow again. )
Since you say this is your first time with Strawberries you might not know that the first year's return mightn't be as good as the next few years'....

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 4:51PM
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I have read that, thank you!

I wonder if you post your question on the Fruit & Orchard Forum, if somebody could actually answer it. This forum doesn't seem terribly active... I think Fruit is where I've read some good info on strawberries.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 1:20AM
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ok I have done it

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 7:21AM
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