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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Response to a Question About Strawberries: Two Tries

I am trying to start a strawberry container garden using strawberry pots. I have made two attempts but am not sure what I am doing wrong. 

The first try I used an ever-bearing strawberry root (pkg similar to the one in your pic above). I thought I placed them corrected per your detailed directions/pictures in terms of the crown/root but it is about a month now since and I still see no green growing. Is it possible to put too much fertilizer? Do I give up? Or is there something else I can do? If I do discard, can I reuse the dirt for another try at strawberries (or another plant?)

The second try I used an ever-bearing transplant from a local nursery. There were five in a container. It took me about a week before I could transplant them, but even them I saw quite a bit of growth from each plant. Then I transplanted them. I will say that the root network was quite entangled and perhaps I damaged them too much by trying to separate, but almost immediately, they limped over within the pot. I placed them in the shade for two days waiting for roots to get established, but the leaf edges started turning brown. I placed them in the sun, leaves continued to brown. It has been about a week now and there is still green, but definitely not much growth if any. I do notice a few growing a bit of fuzz on top of the moss - do they have the disease? Did I over water? Can I save them? 

The root crowns from the pack are difficult. I had to scrap some and used transplants from my garden. Sadly a rabbit came and sheared them all down. Argh.

If your second bacth were growing at the nursery, they probably will be okay. They might be in shock from having the roots pulled apart. if the soil is moist, I'd stop watering and keep them in partial sun. You don't want them in shade because strawberries are prone to leaf disease. 6 hours of sun will do. There is a good chance the leaves will die back and slowly you will see new ones appear.

If the fuzz is mold or fungus, scrape it away and keep them in the sun. Remove the damaged and dieing leaves. If the roots are strong new leaves will come. If you don't get new growth is another week, you might try one more time.

I don't know enough about soil disease and strawberry roots. I don't think that is the issue. Maybe someone else could give you soil ideas.

If you go for attemp three I would do this assuming you are using a bucket or large pot. Just buy 3 single plants in pint containers. Plant them and let them grow. They will grow runners. You can just put the runners where you want and a plant will grow. This may not get you strawberries this month but it will establish plants for you.

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