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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Strawberry Gardening Tips and Information

Thanks to a post by Mindy over at Housman Farms, I was encouraged to do some research on strawberries. Since I'm growing some strawberries and don't know the first thing about them, this little research project was very fruitfull (pun intended!)

A nice pdf drawing found on google docs shows the parts of a strawberry plant. Now, instead of pointing at my plants (when talking to my wife) and saying "this one spread out and started another one!" I can intelligently say "we've got a runner with a daughter plant!"

This same document also recommends pulling off the blossoms during the first year to encourage the plant to redirect all the energy into plant growth instead of fruit production. This must mean that strawberries can stay in the garden for several years? Think I'll experiment and pick blossoms off of half the crowns and see who grows more fruit in the next couple of years.

Looks like Mindy uses straw to cover her strawberries in the winter. My pdf document says to cover them after the first hard frost, up to four inches. Covering them too early can reduce their "winter hardiness."

During the second season, when the berries are ready to pick, just pinch them off at the stem between your thumb and forefinger and give a little twist. Freeze what you don't eat within the first week of picking.

Do YOU like strawberries?

3 comments:

Anne said...

They are perennials, in many locations. They don't like sweet (alkaline) soils though, which is typically what you have in arid locations. Compost, compost, compost.. and just when you think you have enough.. you are half way there. That berry may take awhile to work for you if only because it goes against most of the growing conditions it needs.

Mulch will be something to consider to help keep the soil cooler, retain moisture.. and the use of shade. Heat, lack of nutrients, lack of moisture all cause stress.

I don't mean to discourage you, just if this is a crop you have you heart set on, it may take quite a few attempts and a lot of work. I know all too well the draw strawberries have, just they are native to more temperate zones. Right when they are getting the light they need to produce, many areas of AZ heat up too intensely and roasts the strawberry plants.

However... you also have an easier time growing Mediterranean crops.. artichokes, melons, tomatoes, eggplants, olives, rosemary, oregano, citrus.. to name a few. As well in many areas you can grow quite a few things in "winter" (generally cool season crops you plant in fall.) It is easier to start off working with your climate than jump into defying it.

Not sure if you are in the area.. but not far from my husband's favorite rock climbing haunt they opened an olive mill. Queen Creek Olive Mill.. may be worth checking out.

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

Wow, thanks again Anne! This blog started out as a creative release but if I keep getting helpful feedback like yours, this blog will be a true blessing.

Anne said...

No problem. A great resource is also the cooperative extension in your area. They usually have trialed many different varieties and can tell you which strains they have found work better for the area you are in, what soil conditions are commonly found in an area, plant diseases & pests in your location, planting guides, etc... all kinds of perks.

http://extension.arizona.edu/

Inevitably.. tapping into the knowledge of local horticulturists, entomologists, biologists.. always a good thing.

Frugal Canning mentioned that she brings her pressure cooker to her local extension to have the gauge checked for accuracy. I never would have even thought about that!

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