[Market-farming] strawberry planting

road's end farm organic101 at linkny.com
Sat Feb 12 22:32:56 EST 2005

On Feb 12, 2005, at 10:08 PM, Tradingpost wrote:

> I saw landscape fabric laid out on strawberry rows at the extension 
> farm in
> Alcalde, NM, and they're organic. No weeds. Of course they installed 
> drip
> irrigation to go with it.

Yes, that's a good point; planting in landscape fabric or plastic mulch 
would work. If the mulch is dark, you might need straw over it to keep 
the berries from overheating, and if you want runners to set you'd have 
to set them through the mulch yourself.

If you're going to certify as organic, check with your certifier first. 
The landscape fabric/plastic needs to be in the field continuously for 
more than a year to use it with strawberries, and at least some 
certifiers used to object to this. I'm not sure how the federal 
standards have affected this issue. If you're not getting certified, of 
course, this isn't an issue.

> But they used a smother crop in the blackberry rows, New Zealand white
> clover. Going by the taste of the berries, I'd say both methods work.

Clovers are a good cover crop, but might be too slow establishing for a 
smother crop. They're sometimes seeded mixed with oats, so the oats can 
discourage the weeds while the clover gets going. Also I think clovers 
work better if they have longer to stay in the field than in the 
relatively quick repetition of cover crops and tillage that I was 
suggesting to discourage the weeds.

I also don't know if you want clover in strawberries, even the low 
growing New Zealand. Clovers do spread. The blackberries wouldn't be 
bothered as they grow much taller, but I think strawberries would have 
trouble competing with the clover. I bet it works well in blackberries, 

-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale

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