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Friday, April 29, 2011

Berry Patch Creation

Strawberries and raspberries always seem to be one of the easiest things for us to grow in our garden. We plant them, forget about them, and get berries. Not much other work is required. It could be that our climate is great for them, but I suspect that they are just hardy plants that grow well in many places and environments. That being the case, one of the first things we planted this year were strawberries.

Most of the gardening books we use indicate that the best time to plant strawberries and raspberries is late summer or early fall. This allows you to harvest a crop the next season. If you live in a dry area like we do, planting in early spring will work well, just don't expect to get a harvest the first year. In fact, it is recommended to pinch off the flowers of your raspberries and strawberries the first year in order to let the plants focus on establishing themselves. This allows for one to harvest a better crop the next season. Both plants do well in the sun although they can survive in shaded areas. Both plants like plenty of humus and fairly acidic conditions. They are also potash hungry. When preparing their soil, add wood ashes to the ground as it will help them thrive.

Here is what our strawberry patch looked like before we started working it.

 We added straw and compost, and then we double dug the ground. 

 We purchased bare root stock. These are strawberries and raspberries that don't come in pots and their roots don't have dirt at all. This is the cheapest way to start them and we find that they grow just as well as long as you plant them immediately after purchasing them.

(bare root plant)

Here is what our patch looks like after our work. 

This will be one of many berry patches that we will have dispersed throughout our yard. It will require some patience on our part to wait a year for the fruit but trust me, it is worth the wait when you bite into your first fresh strawberry from your yard.

What have you found works well for your strawberry and raspberry patches?



Cowbell said...

What a great blog. I really enjoy reading about what other people are doing in their backyards and in urban gardens. I haven't tried growing any strawberries and/or raspberries yet, but you may have inspired me into at least giving it a go! Thanks.

David said...

Michael, I have visions of trying to build a vertical strawberry patch. I haven't quite figured out the best way to do it yet but there is a lot information on the web about those that have done it.

You are right about the taste of homegrown strawberries. The store bought strawberries that look like they have been on steroids are quite tasteless.

Have a great strawberry anticipation day.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear about the first year in berry planting. We just planted a bunch of bare root berry bushes for the first time and I wouldn't have known to skip the first year.

daisy g said...

I only have one strawberry plant in a pot which sporadically gives fruit. I just wanted you to know that your post had me droolin'! Enjoy your harvest!

p.s. We use fish emulsion for fertilizer.


Strawberries: Feed them regularly and separate them when they get crowded.

Cane berries: Let the 1st year's growth grow wild. In the fall, tie that growth up on a support. In the spring, let the new growth go wild and harvest the old. In the fall, cut down the old growth and replace it by tying up the new growth.

Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat.

Most important. Pick the berries and enjoy right on the spot.

bandwidow said...

I'd like some advice on maintaining a berry patch that doesn't get nibbled on in the middle of the night by rodents! It seems like those critters come along and ruin every ripe berry before I can get to it! It's maddening! Aside from covering the entire plot in netting do you do anything to protect those precious berries?

Mike said...

Cowbell: Go for it, they are easier than you would think.

Dave: let us know if you do build a vertical strawberry patch. Maybe the pallet garden on today's link would be an option for you.

Daisy: On strawberry plant is better than none.

Alexis: Good luck with the berries.

Maybelline: Great advice. I knew I could count on you to give us some ideas.

Bandwidow: We have had problems with birds and netting helps, bet we haven't had to deal with rodents. We will put this out as a reader question and see if out readers have some ideas for you.

Proverbs Thirty One Woman said...

Looks good! Our strawberries mostly line the back of our house, but every year we plant runners elsewhere. We can't seem to grow enough to eat fresh *and* preserve them! I find that strawberries are also wonderful in areas of the yard that don't get full sun. A little shade doesn't seem to slow them down at all.

Anonymous said...

I planted strawberries and a patch of raspberries in the corner of the same garden patch . I am now told that these 2 fruits should not be grown together because of the possibility of disease .I am so disappointed Anybody have any positive insight ?