Thursday, July 7, 2011

Renovating Strawberry Beds

We were finally able to dedicate some time to our strawberry beds to keep them producing large berries.

Even after ignoring the beds for the past three years they have stilled been amazing producers. This season (2011) averaged 4-5 cups a day at the beginning of the harvest and ended in 10 cups a day during the last week of the harvest with some days as large as 20-30 cups a day. Even with the large crops and large berries, some of the plants are producing small berries this season so it time for renovating the bed.

Here is what we did this year and hope to continue doing each season.

1. Immediately after harvest (within one week of picking the last berry and no later than July 15), trim leaves within 3” of the crown. Remove cut leaves and debris from bed. This can be done by mowing the strawberry patch with a mower set to it's highest setting.

2. Remove old/mature plants, leaving the new daughter plants. Space plants 8” apart in 3 foot wide rows. As the daughter plants fill in through the summer the rows will end up being 2 feet apart. We could have thinned ours even more but after pulling out a few hundred plants we decided we were done for now.

3. Fertilize with a 10-10-10 mixture.

Iowa State’s extension service
is a great resource for more details on renovating strawberry beds to keep them producing large healthy crops.

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