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Nature’s First Bounty – Strawberries! Also, Gardening Tips

May 28, 2010 · 21 comments

in Home & Garden

This past Wednesday, my mom and I went on our annual trip to the nursery, which is where I buy  flowers and vegetables for her in celebration of Mother’s Day.  I recognize that Mother’s Day was weeks ago, but the weather in Michigan just wasn’t cooperating until now.

Very first strawberries ever picked from my

Anyway, I was walking around my yard with my new plants, deciding where to put everything, when I strolled past my strawberry bed.  I was shocked to see that quite a few of them were actually ripe, some even becoming too ripe.  Keep in mind, this is the first year I ever ‘raised’ strawberries, so I didn’t really know what to expect.  (Last year I had sent away for 50 strawberry plants from Gurney’s.com, and I knew nothing would be produced last year.)

I can’t tell you how happy these ripe strawberries made me.  First, I was already in a good mood looking forward to planting my new plants.  Then, I saw those bright red strawberries peeking through the leaves, and I felt like a master gardener!  Now you can tell from the picture that a huge bounty was not produced.  However, it is a start!

Since I am very much in a gardening mood, and Memorial Day weekend is quite often spent tending to a new garden, I thought I would provide some tips for transplanting those plants that are currently trapped in containers, and then also some ideas on watering the garden:

Transplanting

  1. When transplanting those plants you started indoors or buy in the nursery, make sure you loosen the roots up a little after removing them from the pot.  A lot of times the plants are root-bound and the roots grow into a spiral.  However, when plants are in the ground, the roots need to grow out from the center.  Gently loosening the roots will encourage the roots to take hold like nature intended.
  2. When removing the plant, squeeze the container on the sides a little, if it is squeezable.  Then, tip the container upside down and ‘catch’ the plant.  If the plant will not come out of the container, then pull the plant out by the leaves.  Don’t grab just one leaf at a time though, as then you may end up with a not-so-attractive stem.  Put the plant in the hole at the same level the plant was at while in the container, unless it is a tomato or pepper.  Both those vegetables can be transplanted up to their first sets of leaves.  Also, pack the dirt tightly enough around the plant once it is in the ground so there are not any air pockets.
  3. Transplant late in the afternoon when the hot sun cannot damage the new transplant.  Thoroughly water the plant without drowning.  You may also want to apply a fertilizer that is intended for transplants.

Watering:

  1. You don’t want to over-water your plants.  Once they have been established, water them whenever they start to droop a little bit.  If they are droopy even in the evening when out of the hot sun, then water them ASAP.  Also, make sure the water is getting deep down into the roots and not just soaking the surface.
  2. Make your water last.  Mulch around those plants so the water will not evaporate as quickly.
  3. If you have been going through a dry spell and notice the water is not soaking into the ground, stop watering and wait a little while to water again.  Make sure you water either early in the morning or late in the evening so the sun doesn’t just dry up the water.
  4. Looking to save water?  Collect water from downspouts or funnel a tube from the downspout into your garden.  However, if it a particularly rainy time of year, disconnect that tubing so the garden is not drowned.  You can also collect water that has been used to rinse vegetables and such and use that to water the garden.  One thing I do is when I remove the drum used to collect water in our basement dehumidifier, I pour the water over the plants that aren’t reached as easily by other means.  (Sprinklers, or maybe under an eave.)
  5. Use soaker hoses, which are way more efficient than watering with a sprinkler.

Have a wonderful, safe Memorial Day Weekend!

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike - Saving Money Today May 28, 2010 at 11:49 am

Wow…those strawberries look delicious! We’ve tried growing fruits but our yard gets very little sun, and what did grow was eaten by rabbits and raccoons before we got any.

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Kris May 28, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Mike – We have rabbits too but surprisingly, they leave my strawberries alone. I wonder why. Birds are a bigger problem for me. I know they saw for rabbit preventing you should use a raised bed and then put some small fencing around it. Sounds like a big pain to me. 🙂

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Budgeting in the Fun Stuff May 28, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Now I want strawberries…I guess it’s only fair since I have you craving a mid-morning burger, lol. What kind of sun does a strawberry plant like? Does it need a trellis like a cucumber plant? I’m thinking strawberries might beat out cukes…

Thanks for the watering tips…it reminds me that I need to add more mulch.

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Kris May 28, 2010 at 12:17 pm

BFS – Strawberries love the sun. I have mine growing on the south-facing side of my house which gets a ton of sun. The ones I have do not use a trellis, strawberries usually like to spread out. These little ‘runners’ grow out from the plant and they take root, so strawberries can spread pretty quick.

I really recommend gurneys.com. they are super reasonable. They sent me these fifty tiny little plants that I thought would never take root, but they have worked out fantastic. No yield the first year, but mine survived some really funky Michigan this year. If you do use Gurneys, wait for a sale. I have bought some really unique plants from them too.

I don’t use a trellis for my cucumbers either. I am actually experimenting this year because I have a big spot in the middle of my strawberry patch that I didn’t plant anything in last year. I just put some cucumber in there, so I will see how it goes. I know some plants should not be grown next to each other, but I can’t find anything on cukes and strawberries being neighbors.

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The Wealth Artisan May 28, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Hi Kris,

First, I must say that I’m envious of your green thumb! It’s far greener than mine. Congrats on the bounty and I hope you enjoy them. My wife and I have plans to grow some of our own food, it kind of goes along with your post about eating out. It’s nice to know what you put into your food to make it grow.

We will eventually begin making our own wines and cheeses, which we both look forward to. Thank you for sharing this little piece of your home life, it was really refreshing to read. Out of curiosity, how do you grow straberries from your strawberries? Do you skin one of them and plant it, or do you plant a strawberry whole? That’s something I may need to look up. It’s one of those questions that you always wonder but never look up 🙂

Thanks,
Timothy
Wealth Artisan Team Member
http://WealthArtisan.com

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Kris May 28, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Well Mr Artisan, my mom was quite the gardener, and everything I learned was from her. She made wine herself too, but that is a story for another day! 🙂 I will be very curious to find out how your wine and cheese making goes. If you are successful, you may never leave the house again!

I have not actually grown strawberries from strawberries themselves, I ordered plants from gurneys.com. From what I understand, growing strawberries from the seeds on a strawberry can be quite labor intensive and requires freezing/drying/thawing, etc. I would rather order my little plants. However, the plants I did plant created those little runners that created more strawberry plants.

Fun fact, from what I remember reading a long time ago, strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside.

Thanks for the comment!!

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Rebecca The Greeniac May 28, 2010 at 5:29 pm

I sooooo wish I wasn’t allergic to strawberries! I just harvested the first peas of the season and took the tomato, squash & pepper seedlings out of their mini greenhouse to harden them for a few days before they go in the ground. Thanks for reminding me how much I LOVE my garden!

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Kris May 28, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Greeniac, I would hate to be allergic to strawberries!

I didn’t harden my plants as well as I needed to this year. I ended up rushing unfortunately. Keep your fingers crossed for my seedlings.

I also love my garden. I am excited to have more time for it this year!
Happy Planting!

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Rebecca The Greeniac May 30, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Have you ever tried raspberries or blueberries? I planted 2 of each early this spring. So far so good… well, one of the blueberries died, but I figure that’s par for the course. But I have NO idea what to expect. I sort of have the hunch they’ll need a few years before they start to produce. I’ll also count myself lucky if the birds leave any for me! Any thoughts?

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Kris May 31, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Hi Greeniac! I have been trying blueberries for a couple years now, and not much success. Four out my six plants have survived, but i don’t get more than 10 berries per plant each year. I keep hoping. I know blueberries love acidic soil, so I have kept them separate and they hang out by the evergreen trees. One thing for sure is if your blueberries ever do produce, you have to cover them with netting or something if you don’t want them to be bird food.

I also planted raspberries in my strawberry patch, but just last year. So, I have not seen a whole lot of results, although the berries are forming. Raspberries will spread like wildfire, that is the only downside. (Unless you have unlimited space, then it is good!)

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Financial Samurai May 29, 2010 at 10:35 pm

I had my first strawberry filled cupcake of the season. YUM! 🙂

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Kris May 30, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Oh my, that sounds wonderful!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Car Negotiation Coach June 13, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Nice work on the strawberries. I just tried growing them for the first time this year and apparently the animals love em! (but we haven’t been able to taste them). I can’t tell what type of animal got to em but i’m guessing it’s either the family of rabits or foxes that live near by.

Welcome to Yakezie!

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Camila Perry September 30, 2010 at 11:59 am

most of the bird food that we have are just sunflower seeds, birds love sunflower seeds.`:

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Double Bedding  October 18, 2010 at 12:21 am

we always buy organically grown bird foods from the local farm.”*

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Track Jacket · November 7, 2010 at 11:42 am

sunflower seeds are great as a bird food because it is nutritious and cheap ::

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Sandy January 1, 2011 at 9:56 pm

It’s nice to find a good blog post. I really enjoy lots of the articles on your website.

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Bill Brikiatis February 24, 2011 at 8:34 am

Just like you, I use the water from my basement dehumidifier to water the plants. It’s a great idea to save water. I find that strawberries really like shellfish compost and liquid shellfish fertilizer. It makes the plants very green and the berries larger.

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Landscape Gardeners Coventry February 28, 2011 at 2:54 am

I appreciate that you have shared some amazing tips on how to nurture strawberry plant. Thanks so much for this info.

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