Posts Tagged ‘strawberries’

Growing Strawberries

Fruits such as strawberries are just as easy to grow as vegetables in a garden.  You can plant your strawberries in a formal bed, or use them as a ground cover.  There are three main types of strawberries you must choose from when you want to start a new crop.  The first type is known as “June Bearing” strawberries, and these plants will produce fruit in the late spring.  Generally this type of strawberry ripens in a two to three week window.  The next type of strawberry is known as “Ever Bearing” strawberries, and they produce fruit in both the spring and the fall.  Finally the third type of strawberry is known as “Day Neutral”.  These types of strawberries produce fruit throughout the entire growing season.

Strawberries do best with full sunlight and need a minimum of six hours a day of sun.  The more sun your fruit receives the larger the crop will be, and the quality will be better as well.  Strawberries need a well drained soil, and sometimes like a sandy soil.  Strawberries prefer the soil pH to be between 5.3 and 6.5.  It is advisable to test your soil with a soil testing kit or have your soil analyzed by your local county agricultural agency.  Since strawberries can get Verticillium wilt they should not be planted where either tomatoes or peppers were recently planted.

June bearing strawberries are best planted in what is known as a matted row system.  Here plants are set in the ground 2 feet apart, and then in rows 3 feet apart.  This allows the strawberries to send runners freely through the free space.  Keep in mind that June bearing strawberries don’t bear fruit until the second year.  The Hill system of planting strawberries is used for day neutral and ever bearing varieties.  You should set your rows to be about 8 inches high and about 24 inches wide.  The plants are set in the ground about 12 inches apart, and should be set in rows.  With these types of plants you should remove the runners the first year so you can bear fruit.  As time passes the strawberry plants are less productive.  Therefore they need to be replaced after about three years of production.

Strawberries can be planted in the spring right after the danger of your last frost.  If the plant you are setting in the ground have any root damage, they should be trimmed prior to planting.  If the plants have any flowers they should be removed as well.  Set the plants in the ground with the roots pointing down, and spread the root system out.  The crown of the strawberry should be set so the midpoint is just even with the surface of the soil.  If the plant is set too deep it may rot.

Strawberries need to be properly watered, yet not over watered.  Make sure you water your plants in the morning so that the sun can dry the leaves, thus preventing diseases.  Black plastic should not be used as mulch for strawberries, as this raises the soil temperature, and strawberries don’t like an elevated soil temperature.  Remember to fertilize your strawberries for the best possible crop.  It is best to fertilize just after the plants are set in the ground, and also after the fruit is harvested.  When picking your strawberries use a delicate hand, as the fruit is soft and will tend to bruise rather easily.

Pipes full of strawberries

I enjoy strawberries and have grown them in the usual manner in the past. (I still have evidence from that growing as weeds in the yard.) I was always dismayed at the amount of space they took up and sought another way. I had heard of strawberry jars and thought about that and then I saw hydroponically grown strawberries and thought that if it they’ll grow in a jar with soil and a pipe with liquid, maybe they grow in a pipe with soil. This is my third year experimenting with this method and it seems to be working much better now.

I use about a four foot section of 6″ PVC pipe, capped both ends and drilled ten 1 1/2″ holes along one side. There is also a small 1/4″ hole drilled into one of the caps for drainage. The pipes are filled vertically. The growing medium is sifted compost and peat moss. I used bare root strawberry plants. I filled the tube up to the first hole, added a plant, then more soil to the next hole add a plant until all holes were filled. Then the pipe is topped off and capped. The caps are snug, not permanently glued.

I used concrete blocks to provide a stable support for them when laying horizonally, but plan to use another structure to create a larger wall of strawberries. I water when the soil is dry to the touch and let nature take its course. The plants have set out runners that I may try to root and use them to fill next years tubes.

The best thing is there have been zero slugs and no dirty berries!

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