paul has a new video  

 



visit the thread.

see the DVDs.

  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Strawberries  RSS feed

 
James Freyr
pollinator
Posts: 513
Location: Middle Tennessee
58
books cat chicken food preservation cooking toxin-ectomy trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Howdy! My first post here, just recently discovered permies forum. What a great place full of helpful people and quality knowledge! I've been gardening for 25 years, organic for almost 10, in raised beds for the last 6 and just recently jumped into biodynamic with both feet. I'm gobbling up books and have got a long way to go as I put into practice what I learn. My wife and I have a suburban homestead of sorts (19 raised beds, blueberry bushes, raspberry canes, fruit trees, backyard chickens and compost piles) as we work towards a goal of a more traditional homestead with many acres, piggers and cattles and such. I'm getting off topic here, on to strawberries.

This will be my first year growing strawberries. I planted approximately 50 strawberry crowns in 4x24ft raised bed last november. The weather was very mild and the crowns came out of dormancy and immediately started growing a few sets of leaves. Finally in december we get some freezing weather (I'm outside of Nashville, zone 7a). From what I've read last, they need to be exposed to temps in the 20's to go dormant, which is what happened, then I covered them in straw for the winter. We really never had a winter. Mild temps in the 50's and some 60's for a good part of january. In the second week of february it's in the 70's, I start to worry the crowns will come out of dormancy and rot if they're covered in straw mulch, so I uncover them. The crowns are firm, not mushy and rotting. Here I am in the second week of march (todays high is 65), the crowns have been uncovered for 4 weeks and haven't shown any signs of life. My garden gets plenty of sun, all day long. We've had plenty of rain since december. They're in fantastic well draining soil, full of organic matter and life. I called the nursery that I purchased the crowns from and the guy said to wait another month. That sounds to me like "I just answer the phones here and this is my day job and I don't know anything about plants". So, strawberry growers of Permies, should I wait? am I being impatient? should I pony up some cash and replace them? I fully understand I won't get berries this first year, and I don't want to lose an entire year of growth and establishment because my wife and I really want berries in 2018. Your advice is much appreciated. Thanks!!
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
Posts: 3155
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
255
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Don't panic, those strawberries will wake up and start growing. Ours have been in leaf all winter this year (through a loose straw mulch). We also have a few that had no mulch and are still doing fine.
Once your strawberries are established through a year, they will survive without a thick layer of straw quite nicely.
It's that first year that trips some folks up since they might sit dormant until the weather warms up day and night the first season.
I have a couple of friends that dug up their winter planted crowns thinking they were dead, they then planted newly bought crowns and decided to give me their "dead" ones.
I now have an entire new bed that is going to do very well this year thanks to their not listening to me.
I can see a lot of Jam and Preserves along with shortcakes coming up in just a couple of months now.

The new weather patterns in the South are still adjusting but we will be lucky to see what we used to know as Winter any time in the near future. While our days are warmer than "normal" the nights still get cold enough to keep crowns in dormancy, once those nights are consistently in the 50's to 60's those crowns will start waking up. Don't be too surprised if you get some "late season" berries this year, we generally have been getting a spring crop and a fall crop the last two years.

Redhawk
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
Posts: 1058
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You are a very neat gardener with a huge attention to details! I use strawberries as space fillers, groundcover and understory, it is better when the birds and the kids don't find them all. I grow as well alpine strawberries.
 
James Freyr
pollinator
Posts: 513
Location: Middle Tennessee
58
books cat chicken food preservation cooking toxin-ectomy trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Redhawk-

Thanks for the input man. So this afternoon as I continued to worry too much about my strawberries I decided to sacrifice one. I sliced it vertically down the center with a razor blade, and the interior is a tobacco brown color. I compared what I was looking at with photos on an ag extension website (forget which university it was) and it looked uncannily like a dead crown that succumbed to disease (verticillium wilt if memory serves me correct, which it sometimes does not). I did see photos of a healthy crown and the interior is a mix of white and light green tissue. I want to believe that if I wait til april they will show signs of life, but I also am afraid my crowns are toast. Strawberries come into season in tennessee about the first of may, usually over by middle of june, which is the sole information that makes me believe they should be growing already. again, I've never grown strawberries before and this is all new to me.

You mentioned your plants were in leaf all winter. Mine had leaves when I mulched them, all those leaves were brown/rotten and mostly gone when I removed the mulch in february. Perhaps I mulched too thick and things stayed too wet and couldn't breathe. All I did was follow the guidelines from the nursery to mulch 4 to 6 inches of straw. Anyway, I'm kinda on the fence about replacing them sooner than later. I do think waiting till mid may when it's blazing hot and the sun is high in the sky is the wrong time to plant new crowns. Thoughts anyone?
 
Walt Chase
Posts: 119
Location: ALASKA
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Be patient.  It's still too early, even where you are for them to be sprouting.  My wife's Grandmother had strawberries just planted out in the edge of an old field.  They grew like gangbusters and we had winters that were milder(Northern Middle GA) and could have big swings in temps in just a day or two than what you experience in Nashville.  I even have Strawberries growing here in Alaska.  They are in two raised beds and do very well.
 
Casie Becker
gardener
Posts: 1474
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
119
forest garden urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm not a big strawberry grower, but can I suggest a different experiment? Can you pot up one of your strawberry crowns and bring it inside to a warm window? If they're just waiting for warmer weather that should spur at least that one to grow. Keep checking the crowns for firmness. So long as they aren't going mushy, there's a fair chance they're alive.
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
Posts: 3155
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
255
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I sliced it vertically down the center with a razor blade, and the interior is a tobacco brown color. I compared what I was looking at with photos on an ag extension website (forget which university it was) and it looked uncannily like a dead crown that succumbed to disease (verticillium wilt if memory serves me correct, which it sometimes does not). 
 
Perhaps I mulched too thick and things stayed too wet and couldn't breathe. All I did was follow the guidelines from the nursery to mulch 4 to 6 inches of straw.


hau James, The one you dissected does sound like a fatal case of verticillium, but that one doesn't mean they all have contracted it. If the crowns stay firm to touch they might be just fine, a test like Casie mentioned would be worth doing, it will show if life is still present.

If you  still want berries, My suggestion would be to buy some growing, nursery plants, these can even be found at Home Depot or Walmart.
That would give you some that are already doing fine and give you that time span to wait and see if those crowns will come to life.

strawberry trouble shooing This link is to the Cornell berry page for strawberries, it has lots of good information on problems and how to avoid or repair the damage done.

Redhawk
 
Yolande Brown-Conran
Posts: 43
Location: Ontario, Canada
6
bee books forest garden
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi James :)

7 months later, how did it go with the first batch of strawberries?
I hope they did ok.
 
James Freyr
pollinator
Posts: 513
Location: Middle Tennessee
58
books cat chicken food preservation cooking toxin-ectomy trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Yolande-

I'm glad you posted a reply and resurrected this thread cause I had forgotten about this and do have follow up information. So, as mentioned before, I decided to slice open more crowns, and they we're all the same tobacco brown color inside. Here's what I think happened and it's gardener error.

All the how to strawberry guides and information I read mentioned covering strawberry crowns with mulch to over winter. I did that, and one of two things happened, or a combination of both which is what I'm inclined to believe. I either mulched too thick which created stagnant air conditions around the crowns or the crown demise was a result of the abnormally mild (and rather wet) winter we had, but I really think it was the combination of the two that created good conditions for their demise. I mean I didn't just sprinkle a little straw over the strawberry bed, I loaded it up.

So I believe that me, trying to be a good gardener and having not done this before, overdid it and killed my strawberry crowns. I ordered new crowns from a nursery, which meant I had to get in the queue of first come first served and it was 3 weeks before my new crowns arrived, but in the meantime none of the old crowns every showed any signs of life.

I planted the new crowns and they took off like wildfire. I planted a june bearing and an everbearing. I picked the blossoms off both varieties so they could concentrate energy on growing root and leaf. The june bearer of course stopped blossoming, and I kept removing blossoms on the ever bearing until about july then I let them go, and have been getting nice strawberries since. I noticed when it got really hot in august blossom production waned but never ceased, and when things started to cool off a little blossom production picked back up.

 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
Posts: 3155
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
255
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For the last two years we have not mulched over the strawberries, the one year we did caused some rot to start so I removed the straw mulch and let them live or die for the winter, they all came through nicely.

Of course Arkansas doesn't see really low temps very often anymore. I don't think we have had a single digit day or night the past 5 years.

Redhawk
 
James Freyr
pollinator
Posts: 513
Location: Middle Tennessee
58
books cat chicken food preservation cooking toxin-ectomy trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's a picture of my strawberry bed I took this morning.

DSC_0072.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSC_0072.JPG]
 
Skandi Rogers
Posts: 80
Location: Denmark 57N
4
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We don't mulch strawberries here, we get down to -15C on occasion on winter and -10 every winter, we don't have any snowcover normaly either. Strawberries are hardy, I think people worry about them way too much.
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 553
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mulching your berries is a great way to delay blooming to avoid frost damage. You can also just mulch part of the berry plants to delay blooming and extend the harvest of June bearing berries. Or you can mulch them all but uncover on different dates.

I only use an inch or two of straw.

It isn't necessary. They can stand a lot of cold. I use it mainly to delay blooming. I leave some straw on in the Spring to keep the berries out of the dirt.

Strawberries like good drainage.  I plant on ridges or in raised beds.
 
Let nothing stop you! Not even this tiny ad:
Permaculture Playing Cards by Paul Wheaton and Alexander Ojeda
https://permies.com/wiki/57503/digital-market/digital-market/Permaculture-Playing-Cards-Paul-Wheaton
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!