Improving Strawberries

pagenie1May 30, 2014

I am growing Quinalt Strawberries (only type I found at Lowe's). They are planted in a"City Pickers" box. Following the directions for the box, I added Osmocote Flower and Veg Plant Food and Dolomite Lime when preparing the soil. The soil tests to a 5pH. So far, the plants haven't grown much in several weeks and the few berries are tiny and lumpy. What do I need to do to improve these plants? They are getting lots of light.

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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

A pH of 5 sounds low. My small strawberry patch is in native soil with a pH of approx. 7.5. Are you sure you are measuring pH correctly? What kind of soil are they in?That would be great for blueberries, but not strawberries. Also, I'm not sure how mature your plants are, but normally the first year I think you are supposed to pick off all the flowers to force the plant to grow and get established, and then get berries the second year. Is it possible to post a photo?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 5:32PM
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pagenie1

Thanks for your reply.

I used regular potting soil along with the Osmocote and dolomite lime. Wondering If I should have used fewer plants.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 11:14AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

OK, not sure why you have the black plastic on them. That will heat them up way too much. Your plants look ok. Am assuming the netting is bird protection? If they were mine, I'd probably remove the black plastic. I don't see any flowers or berries, so if that's the case you could probably remove the netting too. Again, they don't look too bad, just let them grow. Maybe someone over on the 'Fruits' forum could give you more suggestions.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 11:28AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Strawberries can vary a lot, they fruit better the 2nd year. Some cultivars fruit well the first. Black plastic does keep weeds out, the heat though might be a problem, they don't grow well at all in heat. They will stop fruiting.
I would not put plants closer than 18 inches.
I put 8 plants in this 4x4 foot bed, this is two months later
My poor blueberry in the middle is being assaulted!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 12:12PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

The black plastic is part of the city pickers design... it is a self watering planter, and that is the mulch cover.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 10:19AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Yeah, you're right, I forgot about the mulch cover on SIPs. thanks.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 12:43PM
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pagenie1

Yes, the black plastic is important for the watering process. I forgot that the soil I used was a mix of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite.
I have decided to keep the flowers and runners snipped and hope for good berries next year. :(

Thanks everyone for the advice!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 1:30PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

It's ok to harvest a few, not a big deal. I used to take the flowers off new plants. i don't anymore.I didn't really see any improvment in plants. The berries did become sweeter on older plants, but I wouldn't know that if i didn't taste the first berries :) Don't judge quality for the first couple rounds of flowers on everbearing, they get better!
I'm going to have a good year, I already started harvesting berries in zone 6, not bad! I have 5 berry patches, i expect pounds and pounds of berries.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 2:29PM
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