We just had a bumper crop of strawberrys and now that they are about gone what is the best way to care for the plants so it'll be a bumper crop next year? The bed is about 5' wide and 30' long and full of plants. Tom
Lucky you, my strawberries just started ripening, I don't know if this is the best way but here's what I do... After berries have been harvested cut back the plants by putting the lawnmower on its highest setting(helps with preventing desease and promotes root growth).. apply compost(something to eat), water(give em a good drink) and in the fall mulch(I use old hay to protect from frost). .... This is the earliest I have had strawberries ripen so I hope it's gonna be a good strawberry shortcake season. Others may do it differently..
The berrys in northern Ind. are pretty much ripening right now. We have a problem with weeds and grass coming up in them after the first year. Also picking berries that can't be stradled is not as handy as going down the row.
Also the berries are mostly on the new runners that came out the previous year.
For these reasons setting out new plants in a new place every year Makes for high producing plants in rows that can be straddled, with a minium of weeds and grass.
They can be set out in the spring or fall. The only problem with setting them now in the possibility of dry weather before they get established, but a garden hose could cure that.
There used to be a big U-Pick farm where I'd go to pick a few gallons of June-bearing strawberries. Rows were a good 3 feet apart and I thought that it was a waste of land despite the huge crop. But the owner explained what he did. After the plants were done producing, runners would be trained to set roots between the rows. When the young plants were well established in late summer, the old plants were rototilled under. Thus the berries were always being produced on new plants.
Many everbearing varieties are slow to produce runners. In most cases, these plants wear out after 2 or 3 seasons and should be replaced. Yes, a lot of people will claim that they haven't replaced a plant in 20 years in such a bed but it's usually a case of what they have now are not the same plants that they were looking at a few years ago. As a final act of survival, some of the everbearings will produce short runners with new plants to replace the dying and worn out parents.
My own Ozark Beauties seem to last 3 years before productions drops off quickly. Small crop the first and then 2 good years. After that, I may as well pull them and start over as the 4th year is much like the first. That variety is slow to run, for me, and I am currently in the second year of my third planting in about 12 years. Looks very promising for a bumper crop this year but I expect to be replacing them with fresh plants in 2006.
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