Davis Tyler

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since Mar 30, 2015
Southern New Hampshire (Zone 5)
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Recent posts by Davis Tyler

one solution I've seen to "catch your own swarms" is the Russian bee scion, or swarm magnet.

The idea is to create an enticing resting spot for a swarm that you can recover, instead of far up in a tree branch

There are several variations of the design:



3 weeks ago
JADAM JMS might fit the bill for you.

I make mine in a 5-gallon bucket.  No heat source. No air pump.

Only ingredients are leaf mold soil, potatoes, and salt

3 weeks ago

Jenny Wright wrote:

Are you growing an everbearing variety as opposed to a June bearing? June bearing are more vigorous and self-spreading since they are only producing berries in June and then spend the rest of the summer propagating themselves. Everbearing mostly spread at the crown and you have to carefully break them apart or they get crowded and get less and less productive. You'll end up with tiny weakling plants that then succumb to disease very easily.  

I'm thinking this might be the problem - the ones I bought were "day neutral" and I just read another Extension article saying they're really only productive for one season.  Not my idea of perennials!  Maybe I should go back to the traditional June-bearing varieties
1 month ago

Ben Zumeta wrote:25$ for 25 crowns is very expensive, so I see your frustration. They are a west coast company, but Peaceful Valley has several varieties, and all less than 25c/crown, and in bulk (1500) under 12c last I ordered. Somewhere in the East coast must be a decent price for good strawberry plants!

On the growing, I use hugel beds for drainage and a lobger season, and kelp or compost tea sprays for plant vigor and disease resistance. The get top dressings of coffee grounds and a little worm castings. I also nearly bury the crowns every fall in woodchips, and then only the vigorous push through in spring. This is instead of selecting runners myself.  We definitely lose some to disease, but not many.

I'm in the habit of ordering from Johnny's Seeds in Maine; I had no idea their prices were so much higher: https://www.johnnyseeds.com/fruits/strawberry/strawberry-bare-root-plants/earliglow-strawberry-plants-2432.html?cgid=strawberry-bare-root-plants#prefn1=prod_feature_marketing&prefv1=8&start=1

Peaceful Valley and Stark Bros are much cheaper; I wouldn't be upset replacing $10 worth of plants every other year
1 month ago

Heather Staas wrote:Do you feel like driving to Springfield MA area?   I can give you 50 strawberry plants.   These are SUPER VIGOROROUS at least here.   June bearing.  The patch with the horseradish pot is 4 years old,  started with 6 plants.   The round patch is second year started with daughters from the first.   I literally do nothing with them but yank them out and give them away, and then harvest.

appreciate the generous offer!  Springfield is about 2 hour drive for me, though I do cruise past your exit on the Mass Pike for summer vacation every year...
1 month ago

Anne Miller wrote:Maybe your growing conditions are not right for strawberries?

Strawberries grow best in a deep, sandy loam soil rich in organic matter. The soil must be well-drained. Keep away from areas that remain wet late into the spring. The site should receive full sunlight


The only time I grew strawberries was when we lived in the Piney Woods of East Texas.  The soil there is red with lots of pine trees so I assume this is acidic soil.

I had very good luck with them.

It is my understanding that the strawberry plant is a short-lived perennial and maybe considered perennial because it reproduces like the "daughters" you mentioned.

Why do you feel it is a virus that is causing you problems?

My suggestion would be to add some wood chips and compost.

thanks for the link to the UNH article.  I definitely could add more compost and irrigate more often; it quotes 1-2" per week and my patch is not getting that much water.

I also noticed this, maybe I was expecting too much from the day-neutral plants I ordered last time?
"Day-neutral strawberries are generally grown as an annual to be plowed down the spring after planting and replanted every year. Beds can be carried over if they are healthy and weed-free but yields from day neutral strawberries tend to decline dramatically in successive years."
1 month ago

Mark William wrote:If you're sure it's viruses, why not try growing strawberries from seed. It takes two years to get to harvest, but it can be done.

I might try that.  I've had success with alpine strawberries from seed.  If I get organized to start seeds every year along with my annuals, I'd had a steady supply of new plants to root
1 month ago
I'm on my third go-around with strawberry plants.  I believe they are succumbing to viruses.

I order the bare-root plants, for something like $25 for a bundle of 25 plants.  Plant the crowns to the proper depth, fertilize, water, mulch, etc.  

They produce a decent crop the first year, then a half crop the second year plus some daughter runners, then by the third year they die back and I have to buy new plants again

All the info I've read is that virus-free propagation is out of reach of the lowly home gardeners - the greenhouses buy wholesale certified plants cloned via "meristem tissue culture" and other techniques I don't understand

Have not seen any recommendations on treatment or management of viruses.  Basically, toss the plants and buy new ones.  

If that's the best I can do, I'd rather patronize the local U-pick farms where I can fill up crates of ripe berries for cheap money, instead of buying plants and doing all the work myself.

Are there any varieties of strawberries that don't succumb to these viruses?
1 month ago
yes the "wasted space" issue is a hurdle.  The "wall of black oil drums" always bothered me; both ugly and taking up otherwise productive growing space

there is a company selling geodesic dome greenhouses with above-ground ponds: https://growingspaces.com/geodesic-dome-greenhouse/thermal-mass/
(don't look at the price tag or you'll have a heart attack!)
They're touting the pond as a place to grow water plants, or koi fish, etc.  
You could alternatively use it as a large wicking bed, or floating raft hydroponic or aquaponic system

My point being that the water can be both thermal mass and productive growing area, if designed such from the beginning
2 months ago
do you think you could capture and store more heat if you had more water?  The dimensions you listed for your water tank equals 280 gallons.  I'm proposing about 2x that, 500 gallons or more

based on a passive solar greenhouse book from the 70s I was reading, recommending a rule-of-thumb for thermal mass: 2-3 gallons of water per square foot of greenhouse.
So 12'x16' x 3 gallons = 576 gallons of water
2 months ago