Strawberries are listed as part of the “dirty dozen”, which are the top twelve foods containing the most pesticides. Making it really important to buy organic strawberries or even better plant them yourself!
Now is the time to plant strawberries if you want to enjoy them in the spring. Strawberries like nutrient rich soil. When planting your transplants make sure and add compost to the dirt around each plant. Plant plants at twelve to eighteen inches apart. Keep part of the crown is above the soil. Then mulch with straw, pine straw, or leaves. Pine straw is the best because it raises the soils acidity, which strawberries like.
Strawberries are very sensitive to over and under watering. Keep you soil moist but not soggy. Soggy soil will cause your plants to rot and develop diseases. Your soil should feel like a wrung out sponge.
Strawberries need constant nutrition in order to continue producing. Once they start producing feed them bone meal or blood meal once a month.
Don’t plant tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, or eggplant near your strawberries. These plants can harbor verticillium wilt, which can infect strawberry plants. There is no cure for verticillium wilt, so the infected plants must be removed and discarded. Very sad!
Strawberries have few natural pest but the ones they do have can destroy your whole crop. Their main pest are birds. The best way to prevent birds from stealing your crop is to cover the whole crop with netting.
Strawberries other main pest are snails and slugs. There are three organic ways to keep these slimy scourges off your plants.
One is to line your beds with copper lining, specifically sold for this purpose. When the slugs’ slime hits the wire it creates and electric current. Copper is not cheap. You can do the same thing by lining your beds with pennies.
The second approach is to place some shallow saucers of beer around your garden or leave some beer cans with the mouth closet to the ground lying around. Slugs love beer and drowned when they drink it. But you may not want beer cans lying around your yard, and if you have a dog you will end up with a drunk dog.
The final approach is probably the best option: iron phosphate. Slugs love the stuff but too much of it kills them.
written by ~ Rebekah Allen