Work with Strawberries
the mulch as temperatures warm in the spring. Pull it back gradually, starting in mid-March, once we get past the
hardest freezes. It is best to have the mulch pulled back before
there is too much leaf yellowing. Leave the straw in the walkways
between the rows so that it can be used to pull up over the plants
in case of a hard late frost, and also to use as a "bed" to hold the
ripening strawberries up out of the soil.
June-bearing strawberries - the ones that produce their crop
in early summer and are the type most commonly grown - should be
renovated immediately after next summer's harvest. It is too late to
do so now because the plants would not have time to recover before
winters' cold arrives. Even more important, strawberries set next
season's flower buds in the fall. If you renovate now, you will
damage too many of those buds and have a poor harvest next summer.
Renovation involves thinning the bed, which invigorates the
remaining plants and enables them to produce larger berries.
starts by getting weeds under control, generally by hand weeding in
home gardens (this is something you can do now - removing weeds will
not hurt your plants and will reduce competition for water and
nutrients next year). Use a rototiller to narrow the rows down to
about one foot wide, and thin the plants in the row so that there is
a plant every three to four inches. Select vigorous runners or
daughter plants to replace mother plants that are three to fours
years old because they become less productive with age. Trim back
the leaves, either by hand or by setting your lawn mower up as
high as it will go and running it over the patch. Be sure it is high
enough to avoid cutting into the crowns of the plants. Fertilize
them with two-and-a-half pounds of 10-10-10 per 100 feet of row, and
water if we are not receiving sufficient rainfall. Strawberries
should have an inch of water weekly during the growing season.
Organic gardeners can substitute Fertrell Super N (4-2-4) or
Fertrell Super Plant Food (3-2-3) for the 10-10-10.
Day-neutral types of strawberries such as 'Tribute' or 'Tristar,'
bear fruit throughout the growing season. They tend to have peaks of
production in June, midsummer and again from late August until
frost. They should not be renovated as described for the
June-bearers, but the plants should be replaced every three years or
so to keep them productive. Day neutral strawberries should also
receive more regular applications of nitrogen fertilizer such as
ammonium nitrate (34-0-0). This makes sense since they produce their
crop over a much longer period of time than the June-bearers.
Strawberry fertilization: One pound of ammonium nitrate per
100 feet of row once a month from June through September first is a
standard recommendation. Organic gardeners can substitute blood meal
for ammonium nitrate.
selection and culture
Dealing with asparagus
Replacement for Ash tree