[Market-farming] strawberry planting

Graeme Gerrard ggerrard at resonant.com.au
Sun Feb 13 15:02:56 EST 2005

I'd have to concur with this.  Here in Australia certified biodynamic 
and organic strawberry farms are not permitted to use plastic. All 
mulches must be of "natural" material.  This makes weeds management an 
incredible amount of work - especially grasses.  We have kikuyu - a 
stolon spread grass (but it also sets seed) and that is a major issue 
because in Summer it spreads so fast!

We till each week several times using a chisel plow.  This kills quite 
a lot of the grass and weakens it.  We pick out the apparently dead 
roots by hand as much as we can. Then grow a cover crop, as suggested.  
We mix as many different things as we can - maybe 8 or 10 different 
things chosen for the season.  Cut and till it before it seeds and 
depending on the season we will do another cycle - usually with 
different seed.
We usually plant our runners in late autumn so there is some growth 
before the plants go dormant in winter. (It doesn't freeze here - 
though we get light frosts).
We use hay that we cut from our farm as a mulch.  This needs to be 
renewed during the growing season.

On 13/02/2005, at 1:53 PM, road's end farm wrote:

> On Feb 10, 2005, at 7:42 AM, mtlivestock wrote:
>> Didn't have time or $$$ to get a section of our pasture fenced and 
>> ready for
>> strawberries.  Could I do it this spring?  If so, what would you 
>> recommend
>> for killing off grass/weeds. I have not used any herbicides on this 
>> pasture
>> since 1995.  I would like to use a product okayed by organic methods, 
>> but I
>> don't have a big budget.
> Grasses are a terrible weed problem in organic strawberries. Hate to 
> say this, but if I were you I'd put the strawberries off for a year 
> and plant a succession of smother crops in there this year, starting 
> as early in the spring as you can: maybe an oats and field peas mix to 
> start, then till that in and do a round or two of buckwheat in the 
> summer, then maybe oats again in the fall (they'll winter kill, at 
> least if you're in the North, and give you winter protection but 
> relatively easy early spring tillage.)
> (A smother crop is a cover crop that comes up fast and thick and 
> smothers out the weeds.)
> -- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
> Fresh-market organic produce, small scale
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