[Homestead] Tvo post, Re: Strawberries - 17 Feb 1999
becida at comcast.net
Sun Apr 2 10:48:04 EDT 2006
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 20:16:05 -0500
Reply-To: homestead at listserv.oit.unc.edu
Sender: owner-homestead at listserv.oit.unc.edu
From: Tvoivozhd <tvoivozd at roanoke.infi.net>
To: homestead at listserv.oit.unc.edu
Subject: Re: Strawberries
References: <36CA9503.4FE5 at bellsouth.net>
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> Before I make another stupid mistake, I am going to ask for a bit of
> advice on something most of you probably have done or know
> about...growing strawberries. I have grown them only in
> containers...never in the ground, but now that I have the space, I would
> like to set up a permanent bed for them. I am getting 75 plants soon,
> and I need to get a spot set up and ready for them..the only problem is,
> where do I put them?
> The dilemma:
> It needs to be inside of the garden fence to keep wildlife and the
> chickens out..
> I have to allow room inside the fence for the tractor, tiller, etc., so
> putting a permanent bed at the end of the rows would be a pain...
> The rows in the garden run E/W, yet the most favorable out of the way
> place for putting a permanent raised bed for strawberries would have to
> run N/S. How bad would this be for growing berries? I might be able to
> make 2 smaller beds going east west between the dwarf apples, but I am
> not sure there is enough space...
> Matted row system or staggered row or straight rows? I am undecided on
> the best approach.
> Most of the soil here is very rich and loamy, and I have always heard
> that strawberries prefer a more sandy soil for better fruit production.
> There is one area that is kind of sandy, but it recieves a lot of
> shade. I am working to try and clear that out, but it might be next
> year before that is done.
> Would it be better to plant the strawberries in the sandy soil and take
> out the trees next year, or go for a sunny spot from the start and have
> to orient the bed north south....
> If I go with a straight row, there is one little spot that I might be
> able to get a 1 foot by 15 foot bed...one spot..how many strawberries
> could I get there? It would get full sun AND have an east west
> orientation, but leaves no room for runners...
> I need all the ideas and help you can give me..
> Bev, searching but not sussing..:)
> erthnsky at bellsouth.net
> "That which does not kill me, was aimed at someone else"
> Friedrich Nietzsche
For only 75 plants, make it easy on yourself and construct rwo circular
terraced beds, each earthen terrace confined by a a band or thin wall
approximately six inches high. With a little shovelling and
wheelbarrowing, they won't be in the way of anything---you can put them
where it is most convenient.
Dimensions are not critical, but I would make five terraces of six,
five,four, three and two feet in diameter, each terrace rising six
inches and the top three terraces each stepping back six inches.
The resultant circular-terraced bed would be thirty inches high, and you
would not have to reach more than three feet to pick the barries. You
might reduce the diameters a little if you are dwarfed by beer-poisoning
Depending how far you put the plants from outer and inner edges of the
terraces, you will have a maximum aggregate of sixty feet of row in each
five-bed planter---120 feet in two of them.
If you space the plants one and one-half feet apart you need roughly 112
feet of row space---two terraced beds would be more than adequate for
seventy five plants.
The sequence of events, is to pick a level area (or make one), to
measure, cut and fasten together the ends of your first circular band,
fill it with dirt, then the next band and fill, ad infinitum. It would
be most productive if you put in the center a vertical piece of two or
three-inch rigid plastic pipe, capped on both ends, with a hose-mipple
in one, for feeding your plants water and water-soluble fertilizer.
Drill a series of holes in the pipe to feed water to each terrace.
If you go to some extra pains, it will pay well to have a right-angle
hose-nipple in the bottom, and bury the 1/2" flexible plastic irrigation
supply-tube out of your way and out of the way of sharp implements.
This also permits the immediate or subsequent attachment of a PVC
umbrella structure overhead to support a plastic membrane---acting as a
greenhouse to extend the berry season and/or support netting to avoid
the bird-tax. Install individual valves or flow-limiters on each of
your beds---you want to keep water pressure low. One way to accomplish
this is to gravity feed the beds from a 55-gallon drum on a five-foot
platform. If you screen the drum-outlet to the berry-beds, you can feed
them manure tea from the barrel. You can fill the barrel from a manual
valve, or automate it with a timer and float-valve.
The worst problems with strawberries are weeds and mud (on berries or
footpaths). Eliminate them both by mulching heavily with whatever is
handy---tree bark, leaves, spoiled hay, straw, newspapers. The few
weeds that fight their way through are not well-rooted and can be easily
removed by hand.
The bands also can be made of various materials. Easiest is to buy
rolls of aluminum, steel or plastic at your local building-supply
store. If you cut the sidewalls out of discarded automobile tires with
a sabersaw, cut the tire in short lengths (foot or so), drill and wire
the ends, the outward pressure of the earth will keep the pieces aligned
sufficiently to contain the earth well. Use several turns of wire to
postpone the evil day when you have to rewire four or five years down
the road. Cutting strips of old junkyard corrugated roofing with an
abrasive or metal-cutting sawblade will work too, with some caveats
(wear goggles, gloves, dress sharp edges of the metal---and remember
corrugated strips have to be cut across the corrugations to bend.
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