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Straw on strawberries alternative

Posted by hoghaven_duluthmn z4 (My Page) on
Wed, May 17, 06 at 8:03

I have a beautiful planting of strawberries coming up. Due to lack of straw mulch last fall, I mulched with shredded pine needles. I can't seem to find straw in Duluth for mulching under the blossoms and berries and I am concerned that the berries will mold and rot with grass clippings or pine needles (holds too much moisture?) Any suggestions or alternatives? Incidentally, I am quite jealous of the southern MN gardeners--having many plants blooming. Lilacs are only starting to bud around here. On the other hand, I will probably be enjoying them into July. . .


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Straw on strawberries alternative

The pine needles will probably do just fine. I have a variety of mulches on my berries, including straw and needles. The only real difference is the needles do not decompose very fast which is good. My only complaint is that none of the mulches do a very good job of keeping down our weeds. Our garden has been carved out of a farm field full of industrial sized weeds.


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RE: Straw on strawberries alternative

Thanks. That eases my mind a bit. I need a "success" as I have been developing a new garden in the city for two years after having a nice "farm" garden. Miss the farm, all that natural compost, room, etc.


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RE: Straw on strawberries alternative

I've never mulched my strawberries with anything. On the other hand, they're mostly a volunteer lot, having sprung up over the last seven years due to me recognizing them as edible and not going out of my way to get rid of them. When the two years of the "Great Weed Pulling-Out" went through, the strawberries were spared. As a result, they spread. Pretty tasty. Low maintenance. All they seem to need is a bit of Sluggo starting a week before they're ripe and continuing until the berries are all gone. Otherwise the slugs get the harvest instead of me.

Does mulching help?


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RE: Straw on strawberries alternative

With the straw mulch, I have had much cleaner berries. With my soil and weather conditions, the berries that have direct contact with the soil will mold. Straw dries on the surface quickly and keeps the berries off the ground. Soil doesn't splash on them and no rot. This year will be the start of my pine needle trial. It does suppress weeds, or at least, makes them easier to pull. Fresh picked strawberries make me feel like I am a rich person.


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RE: Straw on strawberries alternative

It is my understanding that true straw decomposes very very slowly - "at about the same rate as plastic" is what I was told.

I mulched with straw over winter and when I removed it in the spring I tried to work some of it under the plants. (I did a shoddy job.) One question - with a good blanket of straw on the dirt during the summer are the strawberry runners able to take root? I have seven strong plants and I want lots more than that. Carmellia


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RE: Straw on strawberries alternative

I would remove about half of the straw mulch covering in the spring and then give the runners a bit of help by spacing the plants. I would expose a small amount of soil and then encourage the new plant to root by tossing a little dirt on the runner to hold it down. Had lots of plants.


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RE: Straw on strawberries alternative

This spring I did an online search for yard plants suitable for the shade beneath evergreens. Strawberries were mentioned as compatible; they like both the shade and acid soil. I recall that now because there's already a patch of wild ones thriving underneath one of the spruces.


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