June 12, 2013

I can't help but be envious of my friends who have a bumper crop of strawberries this year.  I planted strawberries 5 years ago and it seems, once again, that I made an error.
My friend Teresa (domestic goddess, writing genius, homesteader extraordinaire) over at Homestead Notes is my go-to person when I struggle with gardening (and pretty much everything in life) and I've learned from her hubby that my crop of strawberries are just too old to give me the bounty that I really crave *sigh.  So, it seems I may have to start all over.

This year I was so pleased with myself for actually getting my butt to the garden store to pick up some hay.  It took me 5 yrs to learn that hay needs to be spread below the patch of berries (if they are as sparse as mine are) to keep the berries clean and to help avoid rotting.   In years passed we'd get an ok amount of berries but either the birds would eat them or they'd rot immediately.  Well... the hay is in place but I highly doubt we'll get any strawberries since my patch is too old.  Just look at them, 90% of these were planted 5 years ago... they should have multiplied by now.

I did have them in raised garden boxes which I don't think helped very much since the runners had nowhere to go, so I did remove those this year.

If anyone has any advice on how you started up your patch and made them flourish, please let me know.

I've also planted a variety of strawberry plants together and wonder now if that was a mistake :(

Teresa Robeson said...

My advice is to friend my hubby on FB and ask him gardening questions. ;) I told you that he knew someone who had taken the Master Gardener certification and STILL asked him gardening questions? It's kind of funny.

As you probably already found out on my page, 5 years is too old for a strawberry patch. Good luck next year!

Epicure68 said...

If it's any consolation it took me quite a few years to finally realize there was no way I could ever grow tomatoes because we just don't get enough sun. So what I'm trying to say is, you're not the only one without a natural green thumb.

Have you tried those strawberry pots? Those seem to encourage runners. Good luck, and hopefully next year we'll see a post from you saying you have more strawberries than you know what to do with.

Carrie Garvin said...

Wish I could help you, but I've never planted strawberries- in fact, would you believe I'm allergic to them- is that even allowed???

When we've had a garden it's been tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, zucchini, etc...

At our home in New Market we do have some fabulous fruit trees with pears. The pears are growing nicely and we look forward to eating them!

Jim Davis said...

Hi, Michelle. We're not terrific strawberry gardeners either. It seems like we used to be able to get buckets of strawberries at our old place, but we gave up the big strawberry patch here since it just wouldn't produce. So, perhaps the soil is a big factor. They should be fertilized, after harvesting. We would take and divide the patch into about 5 parts, tilling up the 2nd and 4th fifths one year, then tilling up the 1st, 3rd and last 5ths the following year, alternating each year. Fertilize the tilled area and let the new runners spread into this area. You need to continue to have fresh plants, because they do degrade. Also, they love sun--looks a little shady in your spot? Good luck!

Michelle said...

Thanks T!

I'll friend your hubby but I don't want to annoy him too much so I'll be selective about the questions :) Hopefully when he receives my friend request he doesn't think I'm some random stalker. LOL!

Thanks M,

I should try the strawberry pots. I've not seen any at the garden stores (just on pinterest) so I'll ask around. Maybe I'll do better with those. My biggest mistake I now know from reading all the advice is that I put the strawberries in at random. The first year I put in about 10, then the next year I added a few more. I should have put in a ton at once and then harvest in a year or two (and protected them from the birds). Live and learn I guess.

Carrie... oh no :( That's a bummer that you are allergic. I'm addicted to all fruits, I'd hate to be allergic to any of them. I'd love to have a fruit tree orchard, that's my dream. I like fruits more than the veggies yet I have better luck growing the veggies. Go figure. LOL!

Hey Jim,

Thanks so much for sharing your experience and advice. We do have crappy soil (clay). Is fish a good fertilizer or bunny droppings? Yeah, that spot our berries are in use to be full sun but our maple has grown to the point that now that area only gets sun about half the day :( I'll try again and hopefully I'll have better news next year.