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Author Topic: How can I winterize my strawberry plants ?  (Read 21770 times)
GreenJean
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Posts: 6

Central Maryland - Zone 7


« on: October 31, 2006, 09:38:10 AM »

I planted some strawberry plants this year in my Earthbox and have a healthy crop that has gotten very big. (no strawberries yet this year)...I would like to try to keep them over the winter and see if I can get some fruit next year.   Can someone offer advice on how to best winterize them ?  I've never grown strawberries before...even in the ground !  I live in Zone 7 in maryland.  thanks!
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mjb8743
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Posts: 6844


Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State


« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2006, 12:18:12 PM »

I'd like to know that too. In my case, they would have to remain outside. I don't have a garage or basement to overwinter. I wonder if the plants would need occasional watering... perhaps from the top?

I can imagine burying the boxes under tons of mulch and plastic, but letting the box go dry... hmmm?

Mickie
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Steve
The EarthBox
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Posts: 799


Northeast PA, zone 5


« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2006, 02:47:36 PM »

We've left strawberries out in the Scranton, PA area without doing a thing to them - no mulch (except for the black plastic mulch cover), no water, no anything, and they came back the next year. 

The safer way to do it, as we have done with herbs before, is to cover them with something that will help protect them from deep freezes.  In the past, we have pushed a dozen or so boxes together and covered them with straw.  Any type of mulching product should work though. 

As for the water, we leave 'em alone the entire winter.  You'd be absolutely amazed at how long the water in the reservoir lasts when it is cold and the plants are dormant!

If you overwinter plants indoors, things are a little different.  The temperatures are usually warmer, and the air drier, so a small drink every 3-5 weeks might be called for, perhaps from the top as mjb8743 suggested.

Hope this information helps  Smiley
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Steve
EarthBox
mjb8743
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Posts: 6844


Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State


« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2006, 09:30:11 PM »

Thanks, Steve....

You confirmed what I was thinking, but I will probably throw a sheet of drop-cloth painters' plastic over everything to keep the rain out of the boxes, and help the mulch do its job. Next season, I'll be trying strawberries in a couple of boxes, just to see how it goes.

I suppose the same technique could work for the blueberries?   Cheesy

Mickie
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111 EBs and growing... so how come there are never enough boxes??
Trying2Plant
Jr. Member
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Posts: 44


« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2006, 09:58:49 AM »

Folks,

This is all very interesting info for me, but I'm a bit confused.  I thought it was important to drain all the water out of the EB before a freeze hit, so that the water wouldn't freeze in the reservoir and damage the EB.  I have already drained one EB and was thinking about how to handle the other one. 

Now you're saying you just leave the water in there over winter.  Can you help me out with this?

Thanks.
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tnreavis
Jr. Member
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Posts: 28


Athens, Alabama (Zone 7A)


« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2006, 11:32:19 AM »

With the Earthboxes covered with straw, that should keep the water from freezing. The boxes that don't have any plants in them should be drained.
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mjb8743
Hero Member
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Posts: 6844


Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State


« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2006, 12:16:42 PM »

Also... a little bit of water in the bottom of any larger container will expand without damage. It's when a container is full and there's no place for the expansion to go... then it will cause the container to burst.

I think the EB should be just fine if most of the water is gone. The mulching is more for the protection of the plant's roots during its dormancy. I have a very large planter of rosemary on my back porch, and one very cold winter, unprotected, it died from frozen roots. Last year, my rosemary survived just fine (without mulching it).. it was not as cold.

An afterthought:  I was thinking of simply tipping the box on its side so the drain hole faces down... most of the water will spill out, and no rain can get in.

Mickie
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111 EBs and growing... so how come there are never enough boxes??
ioiosotwig
Hero Member
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Posts: 608


N. Illinois USA - Zone 5


« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2006, 01:59:20 PM »

Be careful to not provide a winter mouse home...  Unless you want to, of course!
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GreenJean
Newbie
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Posts: 6

Central Maryland - Zone 7


« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2006, 11:46:54 AM »

Hey thanks to everyone for the great input.....but I have one possibly dumb question.   Should I cut off the leaves from the plants ?  and just leave the roots and crowns behind ?  I would think the leaves would die anyway from freezing....and this is what I usually do in my gardens with perennials for the winter.
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pete moss
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Posts: 7

Johnny Apple seed is my hero!


« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2006, 01:36:48 PM »

yes, you should cut the leaves off of your strawberry plants. that stops an inherited disease from infecting them.
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justjnl
Newbie
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Posts: 3


« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2008, 02:11:56 PM »

I'll keep you posted on what happens to mine.  They are huge and beautiful, but I picked all the flowers off as this was the first year, and I'm told they produce bigger if you don't let them fruit until the 2nd year.  I live in Minneapolis and my EB is on my upstairs deck.  I bought a bale of straw for $3.50, fluffed it up and put it in single plastic bags.  Laid a bag each of the all four sides and the ends.  I'll cover with a tarp to keep the ice and hopefully the snow will add to the insulation.  Let's just see what happens next year.  I replanted some of my runners back into the EB, but there were just too many to keep.  It looks like a casket sitting on my patio... and the neighbors laugh.  Wait until they see the strawberries though... I'll ahve the last laugh... I hope !  :-)
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John
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Posts: 1333


Zone 5


« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2008, 10:48:09 AM »

This is my first year with strawberries in an EarthBox.  When planting I only used 1/2 the dolomite to keep the pH more acidic which strawberries prefer.  I am getting ready to winterize my strawberries.  I am going to cut them down, replace the cover and roll them into my garage.  I will drain the reservoir because I feel the potting mix is moist enough.  Next year I will save the baby plants and replant after the parent plants produce. I will leave the fertilizer in the box and not replace it, or add 1 cup of dolomite, until the strawberries produce and I transplant the baby plants.  Years ago, when I grew strawberries in the ground, I noticed that the older plants produced less and less each year. 
Does anyone have any suggestions?   
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Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturist (PCH)
box lady in Florida
Guest
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2008, 08:30:43 PM »

Yep, move down to Florida.  Tomorrow I'm planting strawberries, lol.  It's finally getting time to get them in the ground down here.  But I'm concerned as the boxes I've prepared were all prepared with two cups of dolomite -- do you think this might be a problem.  It'd be easier to correct now before I plant then deal with whatever too much dolomite might do to them.

Any suggestions?Huh?   And what about blueberries?   I wasn't going to put any dolomite in them.  I didn't put dolomite in the blackberries.  The reason the strawberries got the dolomite was because all the boxes were prepared the same by some helpers we hired.

I think I'm experiencing brain growth -- probably due to my mixing the five gallon bucket of miracle grow with my hand.  I'm using Miracle Grow to feed the seedlings I've started in peat pots.

Linda
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LeggoLamb
Hero Member
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Posts: 247


Sarasota, FL 9b


« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2008, 08:52:04 PM »

I asked about dolomite for blueberries at research center, they said no dolomite, and suggested using decomposing pine needles just under the mulch cover to provide more acidity.  Planted 2 blueberries last week in EB so will find out how it works myself. Picture is of Gulf Coast day of planting, many new leaves out now.


* Blueberry-N-1.jpg (473.01 KB, 1105x1411 - viewed 393 times.)
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mjb8743
Hero Member
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Posts: 6844


Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State


« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2008, 10:30:30 PM »

Yep, move down to Florida.  Tomorrow I'm planting strawberries, lol.  It's finally getting time to get them in the ground down here.  But I'm concerned as the boxes I've prepared were all prepared with two cups of dolomite -- do you think this might be a problem.  It'd be easier to correct now before I plant then deal with whatever too much dolomite might do to them.

How many strawberry boxes are you putting in? You could either add an acidifier (I forget the name) now, before planting, or... if you have enough empty boxes, start fresh without the dolomite, and use these boxes for something else.

Mickie
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111 EBs and growing... so how come there are never enough boxes??
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