overwintering strawberry pots

gellfex(6 NJ)October 1, 2007

I've tried putting them in the garage, and I've tried leaving them on the exposed wall they live on in summer. Either way I get 40-60% mortality. I had such a good season this year with Ozark Beauties that I'd like them to come back strong as early as possible, without replanting the pots entirely like I did this year.

Any suggestions?

FWIW, they're plastic with 12 holes, and they're on a drip watering system to overcome the tendency of strawberry pots to be dry. Those plants are still cranking out blossoms and fruit. Amazing!

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

It sure would be nice if you amended your user page so it would at least hint at what part of the country you live in - or if you included that info in the body of your post. A zone and state would be very helpful in enticing readers to offer advice that takes your cultural setting into consideration. It's probably much more important than knowing you were a New Year's baby. ;o)

Al

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 10:47PM
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gellfex(6 NJ)

Fair enough about stating the zone. But the Bday thing is an unnecessary breach of privacy, and a key to identity theft. This is a great community, but giving the amount of info required to get the page to show the zone I stated is not appropriate. So I lie a lot. Not only wasn't I born on new years, but I'm not 103.

I'm in zone 6, North Jersey.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 1:24PM
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ole_dawg(7 UpCountry SC)

You are paranoid beyond belief. Lighten up a little.

1eyedJack and the Dawg 08/18.1946 steal it if you want

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 7:01PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

My best guess is it's almost surely a soil moisture related issue when you're keeping them in the garage; and outdoors - it could be too wet/dry/cold or a combination - even all three. I bet if you kept them in the garage and switched to a terra cotta pot & threw a little snow on them every month or so to keep the soil from drying completely, you'd improve survival substantially.

Al

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 4:41PM
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gellfex(6 NJ)

Tapla, I suspect you're right about moisture being part of it, but it can't be all of it. I'd definitely forget to water them in the garage, and I think terra cotta drying out so fast is the root of most peoples problems getting strawberry pots to work well to begin with. Had I the room I'd build an open box for them and surround them with hay or leaves, leaving the tops exposed for water. Maybe just moving them to a sheltered but sky exposed spot would reduce the wind evaporation during cold but dry periods. If that spot was out of the sun it would also provide a more stable temp til spring, no?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 6:42PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Terra cotta drying out so fast isn't the root of any problem - it's an advantage, from a physiological perspective. The problem lies in the fact that people forget about the moisture level needs/wants of the plant and either over or under-water. ;o) Often, optimum plant vitality requires the forfeiture of some level of grower convenience. I'll stand by what I said.

Your idea about a sheltered spot if overwintering outdoors is a good one. If you winter outdoors, you should try to keep the pot well mulched so that the soil doesn't freeze & make water uptake difficult or impossible (which leads to mortality via dessication). Over-wintering in an unheated garage would leave you with the possibility of dessication as a minor consideration if you hold up your end of the deal (the snow thing).

BTW - fallout from inappropriate soil moisture management could indeed be all of the problem.

Good luck.

Al

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 7:49PM
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