Archive for the 'Strawberries' Category

Strawberry Season Is Here



The long days and warm weather have arrived, and our plants are loving it. Our long day Sequoia strawberries started ripening about two weeks ago. Today, I picked a whole bowl full of strawberries, which we enjoyed for lunch.

Strawberries are probably one of my favorite garden plants. Our Sequoia strawberries have grown really well in our garden and have produced many strawberries. Our home grown strawberries are so delicious. They are softer and sweeter than the strawberries I typically buy in grocery stores.

In order to get more plants, I let the runners from last year’s strawberries root in our raised beds, and then I transplanted them into pots back in December. The second photograph above shows the same strawberries pictured in my December 29th post. I now have about 15 strawberry pots, because I had so many runners last year. The newly planted strawberries from last year’s runners are growing very fast and are getting lots of berries. But even the strawberry plants that are 2-3 years old are growing and producing many high quality berries. The first photograph above shows strawberries that are about 2 years old.

Some of the newly planted strawberries from last year’s runners are already starting to generate runners of their own. This year, I plan to trim some of the runners so that I don’t get as many. I have read that cutting off the runners encourages the plants to produce more strawberries, although I haven’t tried this technique yet. I have noticed that the older strawberries do not seem to generate as many runners.

Recently, I decided to try experimenting with some new day neutral strawberries. I planted several Quinault strawberries about 3 years ago, and I was really unhappy with them. They produced very few strawberries. The strawberries they did produce were small and tough, even though they were growing under the same conditions as the Sequoias, which have always been wonderful. A few weeks ago, I planted Seascape and Aromas. Both are day neutral strawberries that are supposed to produce strawberries over a longer season. I admit I will be surprised if they taste as good as Sequoia.

I have read that strawberries will not produce berries when the daytime high temperatures exceed 85 degrees F on a regular basis. We are lucky here, because the summertime highs average around 77-80 degrees, and daytime highs above 85 degrees are rare except for the occasional heat wave. Last year, we harvested strawberries from May through August, except for about a month in June. I attribute that gap to not fertilizing them regularly. As soon as I started to fertilize them, they began to produce berries again.

May 09 2009 | Strawberries | Comments Off on Strawberry Season Is Here

Transplanting Strawberries

Strawberry plants proliferate by sending out runners that look like vines. The runners grow and develop roots that form new strawberry plants. Last summer, I let our strawberries send their runners into the raised beds where we grow our vegetables, because I wanted to get more strawberries for next year. The strawberries are growing in about ten pots next to the raised beds.

I spent part of the day yesterday and today transplanting most of the runner sets into pots, as in the picture above. Strawberries transplant incredibly well. I often tear off many of the roots in the transplanting process. They don’t seem to mind though. The strawberries don’t wilt or show any sign of transplant shock even after multiple transplants.

I also trimmed the new and old strawberry plants. The older plants look especially scraggly right now. They are full of dead and yellow leaves. I cut off most of the leaves of each plant, including many of the green leaves, leaving just the newly developing leaves. It seems that trimming the strawberries each winter helps stimulate them to regenerate in the spring.

After about 3 years, strawberries begin to produce fewer berries. I keep individual strawberry plants about 3-4 years before discarding them. I don’t think that growing them as annuals is the best method. In general, our strawberries have reached their peak production of berries at about 2 years from the time they rooted as runners. I don’t see the point of throwing away good plants until they are past their peak. We are growing Sequoia strawberries. Sequoia is a particularly tasty variety that grows well in California.

I am still toying with the idea of leaving some of the strawberry runners to grow in one of the raised beds. I have had a lot of success so far with growing strawberries in pots. Although, I have a tendency to plant them too close together in the pots. I keep underestimating how large they will get, so they end up looking crowded. I think I will plant just one row of them in one of the raised beds with each plant about 12 inches apart, and then judge how well they perform in 2009. Hopefully, they won’t proliferate like mad and take over the garden.

December 29 2008 | Strawberries | Comments Off on Transplanting Strawberries

June-Bearing Strawberries

I have had a lot of luck growing Sequoia June-Bearing Strawberries in pots.  Right now, they are full of ripe strawberries.  The berries are so much tastier than what I typically purchase in a grocery store.

When I grew strawberries in the ground, snails ate the berries before they even turned red.  I was reluctant to put snail poison near the fruit, and it washed away quickly anyway.  A few years ago, I started growing strawberries in pots that have copper tape around the bottom.  I have had very few problems with snails since then.

Back in May, I was harvesting strawberries every week.  Then in June, the June-Bearing strawberries suddenly stopped producing strawberries, even though I was watering every few days, and they looked healthy otherwise.  Usually, the plants wilt if they are not getting watered at least that often.

I then tried fertilizing them with water soluble fertilizer every week.  In about 3 weeks, the plants started getting the white flowers again, and now they are producing berries in abundance.  I think that the nutrients may have leeched out of the soil in the pots.

Also, the plants are probably root bound in the pots and competing for nutrients and water.  I probably put too many in each pot, although they don’t seem to mind as long as they are getting watered and fertilized regularly.

July 27 2008 | Strawberries | Comments Off on June-Bearing Strawberries

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