ct_vol
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Tending a Strawberry Patch

My wife and I bought our house 3 years ago. It came with a gorgeous strawberry patch. The first year I didn't really do much of anything. Last year I did my best to weed, but it was over taken with clover and other weeds. I've lost a good 2/3 of the original patch... I'm uncertain as to what I should be doing to tend the patch to control the summer weeds. Should I be mulching now? Should I have done it in the fall? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Randy

Harvester of sorrow
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I'd mulch it asap before the spring rolls around.Fall is actually the optimum time,but you're not too late. You might also want to consider putting netting up over the plants once they start to bloom to prevent birds from eating your harvest.

ct_vol
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Is there a preferable mulch type? Or will anything do?

imafan26
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I used to use straw or grass mulch.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Harvester of sorrow
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Straw is what most would consider the best (thus the name STRAWberry),but shredded leaves is OK as well.Keep in mind that not only will it be used to smother out weeds,but also give the berries a place to sit other than the bare earth where they are more susceptible to rot.

DoubleDogFarm
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Re: Tending a Strawberry Patch

ct_vol wrote:My wife and I bought our house 3 years ago. It came with a gorgeous strawberry patch. The first year I didn't really do much of anything. Last year I did my best to weed, but it was over taken with clover and other weeds. I've lost a good 2/3 of the original patch... I'm uncertain as to what I should be doing to tend the patch to control the summer weeds. Should I be mulching now? Should I have done it in the fall? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Randy
Randy, Welcome to the forum.

I'm thinking that your strawberry patch is at least 3 years old and maybe 5 or more. That is pretty much the limit for all types. June Bearing ~ Everbearing and especial Day Neutrals. Do you know what type or variety you are growing.

My recommedation is to lift all the plants. Apply about 2" of good mature compost and work that in. Now you can seperate the daughter plants from the parents and plant them out. Compost the old plants. I like them about 12" apart in staggered rows. Maybe 3 rows wide. Any more rows makes the bed too wide and hard to deal with.

Grass clippings, straw, hay, wood chips and even cardboard can be used for weed suppression. The idea is to hold moisture in longer and keep the fruit up of the soil and clean.

Here's a link that may help.

Eric

milstudfarms
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Grass clippings, straw, hay, wood chips and even cardboard can be used for weed suppression.
A friend recently mentioned grass clippings as mulch. Can I just put it down fresh cut or does it need to be dry? There is no risk of the seed growing grass in my garden?

imafan26
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The grass mulch I used was dry. Fresh grass mulch for me would have to many weed seeds and strawberries do not compete with weeds well.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

ct_vol
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Ok, so if I understand correctly, I should have pulled up the plants, and reworked the ground last fall... Then heavy mulched and remulch in the spring?

Am I better off leaving well enough alone now, or trying to pull up the plants I have left and rework the ground as soon as the ground becomes unfrozen?

I'm probably asking a bunch of stupid questions, but I'm completely new at this and figure the best way to learn is to ask. :)

ct_vol
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Location: Kempton, IL

Harvester of sorrow wrote:Straw is what most would consider the best (thus the name STRAWberry),but shredded leaves is OK as well.Keep in mind that not only will it be used to smother out weeds,but also give the berries a place to sit other than the bare earth where they are more susceptible to rot.
STRAWberry! Good thing we have plenty of straw for the horses... :D Thanks for the help. :)

DoubleDogFarm
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ct_vol wrote:Ok, so if I understand correctly, I should have pulled up the plants, and reworked the ground last fall... Then heavy mulched and remulch in the spring?

Am I better off leaving well enough alone now, or trying to pull up the plants I have left and rework the ground as soon as the ground becomes unfrozen?

I'm probably asking a bunch of stupid questions, but I'm completely new at this and figure the best way to learn is to ask. :)
No questions are stupid :)

Take a look at the link above. Most strawberries are planted, in Illinois, late March to April. I would wait until then, lift - divide and replant.

Eric

ct_vol
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I'm pretty sure I have June bearing Strawberries... The Link recommends the "Matted Row" system... So I pretty much set them 18" apart on a raised row?

Harvester of sorrow
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18" sounds about right. The definitions of strawberry types seems to have changed over the years. It used to be 3 types, May-bearing,June-bearing,and ever-bearing. Mine are May-bearing and I could almost set my watch by them (May 8-10 through May 22-24). Raised rows is definately recommended.

JONA878
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Harvester of sorrow wrote:18" sounds about right. The definitions of strawberry types seems to have changed over the years. It used to be 3 types, May-bearing,June-bearing,and ever-bearing. Mine are May-bearing and I could almost set my watch by them (May 8-10 through May 22-24). Raised rows is definately recommended.
I think strictly speaking there are just two main crop types of Straws,( ignoreing the wild and alpin vars) Summer fruiting and Everbearers.

However....main crop cqn crop from early spring through to late fall.
This is possable through the breeding of many vars that will be seasonal responsive. Some cropping in the spring and others who's cropping occurs at different times through the summer months.
Growers though over the years have developed many techniques to make the more popular vars crop virtualy when they want them to.
This is done by the use of cold storage...waiting bed production etc.
By these methods growers over here can crop the same var from march through to november. The march crop needing glass protection of course.
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.



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