Saturday, April 10, 2010

Planting Strawberries

Strawberries are one of my favorite things to grow. They are easy to care for and freshly picked berries beat anything purchased at the store.

In our area, now is the right time to plant out new strawberry plants. If you ordered plants, they should be arriving now. If you can't plant them right away, place the plants in the refrigerator until you are ready to plant. We planted our strawberry patch five years ago. It has done well and doesn't owe us a thing (last year we picked over 60 quart) but we decided to replace it with a new patch this year.
Strawberry plants don't look very impressive. Just some scraggly roots with maybe a tiny green sprout. Don't worry. As long as they have a well developed root system, they will do well. Before planting, soak the plants in water for one hour or up to twenty four hours.

Prepare your soil by removing weeds, tilling well and adding any amendments. My husband dug a shallow trench and filled it with compost to give the plants a good boost.
When planting strawberries, the goal is for the roots to be planted horizontal, instead of straight down in the hole. With one hand I held the plant, with the other I spread the roots out over the soil like a fan. Then I firmed the soil around the plant. You want to cover all the roots without burying the crown of the plant. Hope that made some sense! It is easier then it sounds.

Plants should be about 18 inches apart, though ours are closer then that since I didn't want to make another row and had extra plants. If some die, I'll have a few to use as replacements.

(By the way, I love these gloves. I usually hate gardening gloves because they get wet and soggy but my nails are in shambles all summer. Ed bought me this pair. They are comfortable, waterproof, and only cost a few dollars. The palm and fingers are nitrile coated and the back is a woven poly of some sort that helps them "breathe". They have been my constant companion this spring!)

10 comments :

  1. I miss my strawberries! just read your post on raspberries, we do have a short row started from a couple of plants that I brought with us from up north. They give us a few to eat fresh for now.

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  2. My strawberries should be arriving any day and I can't wait. Thanks for the tips on planting them, I had no idea.

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  3. I didn't know about having the roots not down straight, thanks for that tip. I'm re-planting my strawberries this year with the hopes I can keep them going for more than 2 years.

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  4. I didn't realize how easy they were to care for! I'm putting them on our list for next year.

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  5. Hi Gina,

    I bought some strawberrie plants already up from a garden center. Last year we planted them on the back deck in a container and had berries all season - yum! This year I think I might plant them outside but can't decide where and what I'll need to do with the soil.

    There's a huge pile of old dirt on top of our septic tanks that might be a good spot. Do I just throw some new soil and manure on it and maybe plant them there?

    I asked for bags of compost at the garden center today and they gave me manure - is that the same thing? I'm so new at this :(

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  6. Sarah -
    I don't know a whole lot about soil but I'll share what I do know.

    The soil on your septic tank may be okay, if it is topsoil and not just clay. I don't know what soil you have where you live but it seems in our area that excavators scoop up the topsoil and leave terrible dirt for the homeowner to work with. You strawberries (or any plant) need to have soil that allows their roots to breathe. If you take a hand full of soil and squeeze it into a ball then open your hand, it should crumble, not stay in a tight ball. If you soil has too much clay or sand, compost will help add humus to the soil. Compost can be made out of all kinds of things but composted manure is good. If you are considering planting a garden in a new place, consider what is already growing there. If it is growing a lush lawn or good crop of weeds, the soil probably contains a decent amount of minerals to sustain plant life.

    Does any of this make sense to you?
    Gina

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  7. Wow! Thank you for answering my "newbie" questions :) Hubby said he'd make me a raised garden there as the soil did clump when I squeezed it. Now to go explore our yard and see what growing out there. I'm sure on the 5 acres I can find some place decent. Thanks again for the help.

    PS - I purchased a CSA share on Friday just in case my vegetable garden doesn't work out this year ;o)

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  8. Sarah -
    I should have mentioned that soil will also "clump" if it is wet. If you have had rain recently, you may have to let it dry out before you test it.

    The other important consideration when placing a garden is sunlight. Most plants like at least 6 hours of sunlight a day!

    I'm sure you will be enjoying your CSA share this year!
    Gina

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  9. Hi Gina,

    I've found your blog through Quinn's I belive, anyway I'm so happy to "meet" you. Thanks for the strawberry tips, they are on my list to plant this week. My wonderful husband tilled our 20x20 garden area this weekend so it's time for me to get to work;)

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  10. Gina, thanks so much for this post. I was needing to start a new strawberry bed, as well, and your post prompted me to do it. I wasn't sure since the last two years haven't been very good for the berries, but I did it anyway. I went and bought 75 plants yesterday and put the new bed in a corner of the garden with better soil than the previous bed. Thanks for the tips on planting. I also soaked my plants in water til I put them in so they were very saturated. I hope this year we get a better harvest :) May God bless you and yours.

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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