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Strawberry Fields Forever....
Old 06-07-2013, 11:21 AM   #1
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Strawberry Fields Forever....

I love strawberries. Have inquired with some friends about growing my own strawberries and everybody has said it is difficult, tricky, and requires a lot of maintenance Does anyone here grow their own strawberries and are there any pointers you'd like to share? Do you have to protect them from rabbits, birds, or other animals?
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Old 06-07-2013, 12:03 PM   #2
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It probably depends upon your growing climate. My parents in Missouri never had any trouble getting them to grow. They used a raised bed that needed lots of weeding. and the birds love strawberries, so they would put a net over the strawberries.
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Old 06-07-2013, 12:11 PM   #3
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I could grow strawberries in the south, but the slugs, birds, chipmunks, etc.. always got to them before I did.
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Old 06-07-2013, 12:32 PM   #4
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Brought back memories of our strawberry patch when I was a kid in central Ohio. We always had the best strawberries. Don't remember dad doing anything special but I had the job of weeding. Also can't remember if we had a particular problem with animals. If we did it was probably birds.
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:00 PM   #5
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I've found them relatively easy to grow. But getting a ripe one before the slugs, bunnies and ants was near impossible for me. I gave up.

A raised bed with screens over it and careful attention to bugs might get you there. Even the rare trimmed 1/4 eaten berry that I might salvage was sooooo good, it almost made it worthwhile.

-ERD50
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:18 PM   #6
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DH tried strawberries in the garden his first year of retirement. The plants were gorgeous, sending out runners and having plenty of buds. But like many other posters, someone always got to them before we did. I'd see a berry that needed just a little more ripening and by the time I checked it the next day, it was gone, or half nibbled away.

Here's a picture of DH with his strawberries. Look how happy he is to be retired.
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:53 PM   #7
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If you grow on small scale, beer traps + crushed eggshells worked for slugs here (Georgia).
But I found that slugs drink too much beer and DW had been occasionally raiding my stash
Rabits were not interested in them, neither birds.
The only problems were too much rain (some strawberries rotted before they were ripe) and slugs.
It's actually quite easy in raised beds.

But our best success were blueberries - planted 6 bushes and after two seasons we started to getting bumper crops without any maintenance (except for drip irrigation watering in late spring/early summer). When we drove by our old house the bushes were still there after 13 years, about 8 ft tall and plenty of berries.
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:43 PM   #8
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Strawberries are one of the few things I can actually grow. We live in a warm environment, so I grow them inside so they don't get sun scorched and neither do I. You should give it a try with a small batch first, you might find it easier than you think.
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:50 PM   #9
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Here in MO. I was shocked at how easy they were to grow and get massive crops. Even if a bird got a few it wasn't a big deal. We never had a single insect/grub or other type of pest issue, could be humility related.

Good luck.

MRG
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Old 06-07-2013, 04:34 PM   #10
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My parents had a huge strawberry patch when I was growing up. Dad's main trick was to run the rototiller over about 1/3 of it every year, rotating the section he tilled up. We would be almost sick of eating them by the time mid-summer came around and Mom used to slice them up, throw some sugar on them, and then freeze them in quart canning jars. She'd thaw them out in the winter to have over pancakes or waffles. She also used to make strawberry rhubarb preserves. Wonder if she still has that recipe?

Our biggest pest problem was the dog. She loved strawberries and would go pick her own when she was outside.
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Old 06-07-2013, 05:07 PM   #11
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They grow well in ND also. The birds are a problem but if you drape fiberglass window screening over the plants it helps.
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Old 06-07-2013, 05:58 PM   #12
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You need to select varieties for flavor. Those that we get from Watsonville, CA or Mexico taste like apples. In Oregon many grow the Hood variety.
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Old 06-07-2013, 07:34 PM   #13
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I've had very good luck letting Smucker's grow strawberries for me.

Smucker's jams and preserves are two of the very few grocery items where we buy a name brand rather than the store brand.
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Old 06-07-2013, 07:49 PM   #14
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Smucker's is a major processor of Oregon strawberries. They pay for flavor per pound.
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Old 06-07-2013, 07:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeBrake View Post
I've had very good luck letting Smucker's grow strawberries for me.

Smucker's jams and preserves are two of the very few grocery items where we buy a name brand rather than the store brand.
Those are good preserves, they have their place, but preserves do not compare to a fresh picked, fully ripened strawberry. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

-ERD50
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Old 06-07-2013, 09:35 PM   #16
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For me, it just seems like work but the DW loves to do some gardening and plants strawberries every year. Matter of fact I was out there today and saw a bunch of strawberries ready for picking. I'm not aware of anything special she does other than regular watering and they seem to do just fine.
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