Friday, June 20, 2014

Strawberry Patch

Strawberries have been a plant that we've dabbled in over the past few years.  Our first patch was a DISASTER!  {{I'll blame Paul -- he planted them.}}  
I never grew up with strawberry plants so didn't know that they needed as much care as they do -- at least until established.  Little did I know that they also come back every year!  
The first patch was set in small, close rows, and we failed to stay on top of the weeds.  Fencing was placed around the small patch to keep the chickens out, which also deterred me from easily entering the patch for weeding.

Fast forward to 2012.  A local store had some plants on special, so Paul and I purchased two different varieties; 18 plants each.

The 2012 post briefly explains about the Paul vs. Amy strawberry battle...
...{{okay, it doesn't!  But hind-sight -- that's what it should have been called}}...

The 18 plants I planted were starting to shape up nicely in 2013....
Pampered 1 year olds:  June 29, 2013
Paul's patch -- not so.  I don't even have any pictures of Paul's patch;  none that I could find or remember, anyways.  The main difficulty I have with Paul's patch is the location he chose --- well off the beaten path, and far from a decent water source.  Sorry dear -- if you wanted me to help with your patch, they really needed to be closer. 

Paul's patch DID receive some TLC from me last year;  his two rows were condensed to one by transplanting any surviving plants.    This year, they are still alive, but they need some attention.  They really aren't planted in the best of soil -- my opinion, of course.

But MY patch----------

TOOK OFF LIKE CRAZY last Fall!  The cages were added to my patch last fall to keep deer away from nibbling the leaves.  Sadly, the chickens still get into the patch, but.... now that it's grown to the size it is, we may be able to forego the little bit of chicken damage that occurs.

Recall that at the end of May, I tried my hand at extending our/my patch by transplanting some of the daughter/runner plants.  I had never done it before.  I never read up on it.  I just thought-----what's it gonna hurt?  

Holy.  Cow!

Runner off of a transplanted 'daughter'
This here is a picture of one of the TRANSPLANTED plants!  I'm holding up a runner that is coming off the transplanted plant!  If you are new to strawberries -- they don't produce seeds to reproduce;  rather they start growing a runner (or MANY runners) off of an established plant.  

Another one of the errors we made with our first patch was NOT staying on top of the placement of the runners.  Lately, now that I know the new transplants are 'running,' I'm usually checking on them every other day and simply moving them into spots where I want plants to be.  It takes a few days for roots to develop off of the budding runners, so even if I miss checking every other day, I should be fine as long as I'm out at least once a week.

Runners from the established plot
They have a mind of their own -- certainly!  And now that the patch has grown to the size that it is ---- {{whispering}} --- I may truly be okay simply tilling over some of these runners just to keep them at bay!  It's like Strawberry Spaghetti Land out there!

Another tip that is said by established Strawberry farmers is to pinch off any blossoms during the year of transplant (and even the first year of growth).  This helps to promote growth to the plant rather than expelling and sharing energy between establishing a strong plant AND producing fruit. **shrug**
Since I'm not in this for selling -- I'll simply leave the blossoms and take any small fruit that is produced.

A few berries are starting to ripen -- if we can keep the chickens away for now!

So -- after two years of the new strawberry patch -- I'm excited to know that we should have strawberries for many years to come by simply regenerating the patch from new yearly 'daughters'.  So cool!  My established patch should easily be productive next year too before considering tilling it under; and by then, the new transplants this year should be well established two years down the line.  Yup.  Exciting for this hobby gardener. 


Andee said...

AWESOME! I think it is great that your berries are coming along so well! At my place we had wild blackberries right at the edge of the woods (which we did nothing to except pick!) and there is nothing better than frest berry jam! I know this is in your future! :)

Andee said...

fresh, lol!

Andee said...

fresh, lol!

Andee said...

fresh, lol!