Saturday, May 22, 2010

Strawberry Transplanting Secrets

If you've ever had a patch of strawberries, you know the frustration you get when spending all day transplanting those runners only to find them wilted at the end of the day. Here's some trade secrets I've discovered and had a HUGE success rate this year!

Its sooooo important to do this right when the frost leaves the ground! You're just wasting your time when transplanting in late spring-summer.

1. Thoroughly SOAK the runner-plants you are about to transplant. Make sure their soil is muddy and squashy ;) This enables you to get ALL the roots out of the soil. I stick a trowel about 4 inches away from the plant and lift the plant partially out of the ground. Then I grab the plant's crown and pull straight up. Since you turned your patch into a swamp, the entire plant easily slides out.

2. Place all your runner plants into a bucket of water. Do NOT let the plants dry out.

3. Next, dig a small hole where you want a plant to grow. Inside the bottom of the hole, make a little mountain of dirt so the strawberry plant's crown is resting on top the mountain. Then carefully cover the roots with dirt. Gently pack the soil making sure there are no air pockets (which will dry out the roots) and create a small trench around each plant for water.

4. WATER thoroughly. TWICE if you need to :) Fill up those trenches.

5. Water every morning a few weeks after planting until the plant is well established and happy looking! Plants don't like to be watered in the midday when they sunburn, or in the night when they'll get 'wet feet'. The morning is the best.

6. PLEASE pick off those strawberry blossoms! I know its painful spending all that time transplanting and then picking off the blossoms, but it will be worth it. All first year plantings should never be allowed to blossom or fruit. Wanna know why? The plant will be spending all its reserves trying to produce small-seedy fruit instead of growing and preparing for winter. You'll get an excellent crop of strawberries the second year if you religiously pick off those blooms. Otherwise -- assuming your plants even survive the winter -- they'll never produce too much in their lifetime if allowed to fruit the first year.

Well folks, thats all I can think of for now! Until next time ;)

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