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Old 04-15-2003, 03:05 AM
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Growing Strawberries Zone 5

Planted my first Strawberry Patch last fall in northwest Indiana.

I'd like to hear suggestion from other strawberry growers.
What's your secrets to a successful harvest?
What did you do wrong and no one should ever do in their strawberry patch?
How do you control weeds other than weeding once a week?
Do you fertilize?
What steps do you take for the winter?

Thanks
Nan
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Old 04-23-2003, 12:49 PM
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In Zone 5, you should straw cover in the fall, try to get oat straw, which should have fewer seed. Strawberries will send out runners with new plants, which will over crowd the patch so in the spring, thin them out. Over crowding leads to smaller berries. If you have sandy soil, they will need watering in the heat of the summer.
They do require sun so donít plant them in the shade.
Iíve had berries for years but this year Iím going to try a different variety and plant them in my rose garden and use them for ground cover, I planted 54 new roses this year and my rose garden is 7 X 84 feet long. Iím hoping that strawberries will keep the water from splashing and causing ĎBlack spotí fungus.
O'SURE
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Old 04-23-2003, 01:35 PM
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Growing Strawberries

Thanks for replying.

I did cover mine with just a sheet this winter and I believe everyone made it. Next year I'll try the straw, because I'll have it as leftover from my veggie garden. I'll just rake it over the strawberries when winter seems to really set it.

Do you mulch the strawberry patch at all during the summer? I'd be trying to prevent weeds but allow the runners to set roots. I think it'll also help on the watering situation.

I put the strawberries into two raised beds about 4' x 10'. We're going to surround them with 2x8 to keep the dirt in. It'll also look neat and allow me to walk around to work.

Any more great ideas out there?

Thanks
Nan
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Old 04-23-2003, 01:59 PM
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I got a couple plants a few years back and now each year look for people to pawn some off to. They grow everywhere-had I thought ahead I would have put them in a raised bed. They keep growing into my grass. Dh mows over them but they keep growing back.

Anyway mine are next to the compost bin, never had to fertilize probably because of where they grow. Never once have I covered them in the winter. Just last year I read that you are supposed to cut them down-even mow over them- after all the fruit is gone to prevent over growing (wish I had known that years ago).
So that's what I did late summer. The plants came right back and are doing fine this spring. Too soon for blossoms. Hasn't been too rainy yet so they may be a little slow in getting started.
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Old 04-23-2003, 03:27 PM
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The crown is very close to the surface and the purpose of the straw is to keep the plants from heaving and therefore breaking off their roots. The straw helps prevent freeze/thaw cycles. I do not use a lot of straw, just enough to lightly cover. By spring the snow has packed the straw down and the plants grow up thru the straw and I do leave it there for weed control and water conservation as you indicated that you will also do.
Straw or other light material should be used where as leaves would pack down and smother. If you used debris from your garden do you think that you might introduce disease or other bad things from your garden area?
OíSURE
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Old 04-23-2003, 06:21 PM
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Strawberry's

Hello Ladies,
I hope this will help you. We have never covered our strawberries and last year we had over 20 pounds. We use our grass clippings to keep the weeds gone. First we lay newspapers down and then the grass. Yes the grass smells but it is so much better than pulling weeds and the grass only smells for a couple of days. You also get some nutrients from the grass. We also have blackberries, red raspberries, purple raspberries and golden. We got 107 pounds of berries last year. I open my freezers and all you see is purple. I make jams and jellys. We also have a grape arbor. We got alot of grapes last year too. They all tasted so good.
I hope this helps.
Happy Gardening,
Chloe
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Old 04-23-2003, 06:23 PM
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I heard something about cutting the runners at some point. Something about if you don't you won't get fruit later but it just confused me. Does anyone know about this? I put in new strawberries last year and just covered them with mulch over the winter. They are back now and looking very perky. Hoping we'll have berries this year!
Mary Beth
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Old 04-24-2003, 02:53 AM
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Growing Strawberries

LJ - My raised beds are made by taking the soil and pulling it back onto the bed. Maybe you could 'edge' yours somehow to prevent the strawberries from growing out to the lawn. My beds are right next to the compost pile that keeps rolling over every year making my garden bigger!

OSure- Thanks for explaining why we should mulch in the winter...makes sense. Pulling the straw over my plants may bring disease. Thanks for mentioning it - I didn't think about it. I'll put some fresh straw early and then maybe add some grass clippings if needed. I'm sure I should leave some open spots for the runners to set.

Chloe - I'd wonder if your runners set with you mulching with newspapers and grass clippings...but getting 20 pounds of strawberries is enough strawberries for me!

Carrotpatch - I planted my first strawberries in the early fall also. I've read where you should 1. cut back the runners for the first year so next year's crop is big or 2. be select in the number of runners you let 'set/grow' to increase the size of the berries that grow.

Any ideas on the runner situation for carrotpatch and me?

I also wonder if where we are in zone 5 makes a difference on mulching or not. I know if you go 3 hours north or south of me makes a big difference in winter weather. Thanks for all your advice so far. I taking notes! Nan
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Old 04-24-2003, 07:13 AM
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Chloe does not give her location so if the climate zone is warm enough there they might not have to worry. Zone 5 does have deep freeze/thaw cycles.
Also, I donít understand why anyone would cut all his or her runners; itís natureís way of reproducing. In the fall I cut out the older plants after the runners have set, and yes, sometimes I do happen to pull out the new plants but, if a patch is larger than you need, then it still leaves plenty.
When I started my patch (33 yrs ago) I was told, by the people that sell plants, to till up and replace with new plants every so many years. But where do the plant sales people get their new plants? They get them from ďrunnersĒ. If you do not have any diseases or blights in your patch, you should not have to replace, just do not let them over crowd, heave in the winter and then you can pick and enjoy.
If you feel you want to fertilize then try to choose a fertilizer that have the last 2 numbers higher. The first number is for Nitrogen for green leaves and you want the next two numbers higher for blossom and fruit production.
O'SURE
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Old 04-24-2003, 07:40 AM
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Strawberries

O'Sure
Hi, we live in Illinios. We have had our strawberries for 6 years and we have never covered them. I see you are in DeWitt, Iowa. That's not far from here. We have always thought about putting straw on them but we just haven't and the strawberry plants look real nice and green so they do just fine without us covering them. And WOW do we have the runners. All we do is the newspapers and the grass clippings and that is it. NO WEEDS! I really like that part. It has worked for us.
Chloe
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