Strawberries

Strawberry Plant

Do you get many strawberries from your efforts?  I planted strawberry plants last season and have averaged about 3-4 berries per plant.  Actually, bugs and birds have gotten them…

strawberry

Any other plant, I’d have ripped them up and tossed them as a failure.  I’ve read that each plant should produce a pint of berries per season.  So, what am I doing wrong?  Pretty much everything, it seems.

First, I live in the south and we have clay soil.  Strawberries are commercially produced in sandy soil and while they will grow here, that doesn’t mean they will be happy and productive!

Strawberry plants thrive in acid soils — ours is alkaline. Strawberry plants yield more and sweeter berries when growing in sandy soils — ours is clay. Strawberry plants enjoy soils high in organic matter — ours is extremely deficient.  They greatly prefer potting soil to whatever we have in the yard. So far, I’ve tortured them with everything they don’t want and nothing they do.

The right time to plant strawberries is September; I planted in the spring.  Rule is, plant in September, harvest in April.  I planted in March and wonder why I have a weak harvest.

All blooms and runners that are produced in the fall should be removed until Christmas to encourage strong plant growth.  Mine did nothing last Fall.  These plants, fortunately, do not freeze in the winter.

Plants should be thinned to 12″ apart for maximum production.  Mine are plenty far apart and, for all the reasons listed above, have done very little spreading.  Strawberry plants need 8 hours of sunlight a day.  Mine get that – one thing in the “correct” column.

strawberriesNot to be deterred, I am changing their environment.  I’ve been pouring sand onto their soil (yes, I have) to see if we can create a more “fluffed up” environment for them.  Next, I’m adding sphagnum peat moss to make their soil more acidic.

I’ll keep you posted!

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3 Responses to Strawberries

  1. Frank’s parents raise strawberries and harvest bushels. What Frank’s told me is that the plants only are productive for 2 years. (Frank’s mother is a tough task master. I suspect I’d call the unproductive plants a miracle of bounty when compared to what I grow, but she is never wanting for berries.) After the second year, in the compost bin the plants go. They are replaced by the shooters collected the year before. So when you cut off the runners, stick the babies in the ground so you’ll always have a crop.

  2. Karen says:

    How fabulous! I’ve never heard that. I thought the old plants just die off and the new ones come up on the runners. Never knew to collect runners.

    Glad to know, in the outside chance that I actually ever have one to cut off and replant…

    Thanks!

  3. Pingback: Harvesting Strawberries « Gardora.net

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