We are new to growing strawberries. We planted 200+ plants last late spring....
We are new to growing strawberries. We planted 200+ plants last late spring. Good number of runners grew, so we think we are headed in the right direction. I know we need to cover them; the snow arrived (about 10 inches in Dayton) before we got the plants covered. With the forecasted warm weather we plan to cover them this weekend - not sure if the ground is frozen or not but this may be our last chance before "real" winter arrives. What depth of straw do we use? Also, come next spring, I'd like to treat the area so there is less opportunity for weeds to grow. i saw a picture of the U of MN's strawberry beds; they appear to have white plastic down between the rows. How can weed control best be handled - the area of the garden was former horse corrals which had been taken over by giant ragweed. All the research I've done recommends no plastic (although it might have been black plastic they were vehemently against). If we use plastic, how do we handle the runners which are necessary for reproduction (#more strawberries). Last question: some websites talk about a strawberry plant having a 3 year life cycle for good production. Really? I have to redo this all again in 2 more years? Thanks for your help. We're trying to be as chemical free gardeners as possible.
Hennepin County Minnesota
Hopefully, the snow we've had to date will insulate, but I do agree that you should mulch during this "thaw" with 4-6 inches of clean straw mulch. Here is some excellent information from the U regarding growing strawberries. http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/fruit/strawberries-for-the-home-garden/
You don't state whether you have June-bearing or ever-bearing cultivars. The latter should produce fruit for more seasons than the June-bearing, but 3 years is about the max. Here is some additional information from OSU:http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1424.html
As far as replanting all new plants in 3 or so years, the runners (assuming you have planted the everbearing type) can be the source of your new plants.