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Strawberry Planting Time

May is the traditional month when new seasons strawberry plants become available in New Zealand.
The nurseries that grow the plants lift them once the autumn rains have moisten the soil sufficiently, then they are distributed to garden centres.

In seasons when the growing beds remain too dry then the plants are not lifted till later, making for late plantings.

I find that the sooner you can get your new strawberry plants into their new beds the better results you have the first season. Gardeners with existing beds of strawberries will likely have a number of runners that have rooted in nicely, these can be used for new season plants.. If the existing strawberry bed is not congested with old and new plants; that there is ample room still for all the plants to grow and produce, then you can get away with not lifting the runners or only lifting those that are too close to existing plants.

Strawberries are easy to grow and can be grown in open ground or containers.
In open ground the most practical way is to make a bed with wood surrounds 16 to 20 cm tall and have a hinged frame over the bed that has either plastic bird netting or wire netting over the lid.
The whole frame needs to only sit on the soil so it can be moved if required.
If using Tanilised timber for the surround then after cutting to size paint all the wood with a couple of coats of acrylic paint.
Strawberries can be grown in troughs about 16 to 20 wide and as long as required.
Special strawberry planters made from clay or plastic are not very good and your results are likely to be poor. (That’s the types where plants are placed in holes around the container as well as on top.)
Polystyrene boxes with holes in the bottom are also ideal containers for good crops if they have a rooting depth of 15cm or more.

The growing medium should be a good compost such as Daltons or Oderings to which you can add untreated sawdust and a little clean top soil or vermicast. (Worm casts from a worm farm)
A mix of about 75% compost, 20% sawdust and 5% vermicast is good value.
Mix the above in a wheelbarrow then place a layer of the mix 5 cm deep in the base of the trough or container. Now sprinkle a layer of chicken manure, some potash,  BioPhos, Rok Solid and Ocean Solids.
If you do not have chicken manure available use sheep manure pellets and blood & bone.
Cover with more compost mix to a depth suitable for planting your new strawberry plants.
A similar process can be applied to a open bed with a frame, though the frame height may need to be taller than previously suggested.

Ensure that the soil at the base of the frame is free of most weeds and then place a layer or two of cardboard over the soil. This will help prevent weeds from coming up in the bed, then fill as suggested.
There are a number of different varieties of strawberry plants available to the home gardener, sometimes the older varieties such as Tioga and Redgaunlet (both are hard to come by now)and  the newer varieties such as Chandler, Pajaro and  Seascape.
The varieties of strawberries available in New Zealand has been limited in the past when compared to overseas but now some more types are available to the home gardener through the work of a New Zealand nursery under the name of Incredible Edibles.
These include; Strawberry Baby Pink ™  Producing stunning beautiful pink flowers followed by small to medium red fruit with sweet traditional flavour. Large bunches of berries ripening over a long period.
Habit – Compact strong growing strawberry. Size – Give these small to medium plants close spacing.
Pollination – Self-fertile. Unknown if short day, neutral or long day type.

Strawberry Camarosa; Large to very large medium dark red fruit. Firm medium red flesh with excellent flavour. Conical shape. High resistance to wet weather. Habit – Suitable for Northern and Central districts. Vigorous growth habit.Size – Give these vigorous plants wide spacing.
Pollination – Self-fertile. Short day type – flowers are initiated by short day lengths.
Harvest – Fruit ripen 20-35 days from flowering depending on climate, with light crops in early summer, followed by a main crop in December – January. Yield is very good.
Strawberry Chandler;  Small to very large medium red fruit. Firm light red flesh with very good flavour. Conical shape. High resistance to wet weather.

Habit – Suitable for Northern and Central districts. Multi-crowned growth habit.
Size – Give these multi crowned plants medium spacing. Pollination – Self-fertile. Short day type – flowers are initiated by short day lengths. Harvest – Fruit ripen 20-35 days from flowering depending on climate, with light crops in early summer followed by a main crop in December – January. Yield is very good.
Strawberry Sundae ™  Large red fruit with excellent flavour. Firm red flesh in an oval shape.
Habit – Suitable for Northern and Central districts. Vigorous growth habit. Size – Give these vigorous plants wide spacing.Pollination – Self-fertile. Short day type – flowers are initiated by short day lengths.
Harvest – Fruit ripen 20-35 days from flowering depending on climate, with light crops in early summer followed by a main crop in December – January. Yield is average.

Strawberry Supreme ™  Very large bright red fruit. Very firm red flesh with excellent flavour. Conical shape. Good resistance to wet weather. Habit – Suitable for Northern and Central districts. Moderately strong growth habit.Size – Give these small to medium sized plants close spacing.
Pollination – Self-fertile. Short day type – flowers are initiated by short day lengths.
Harvest – Fruit ripen 20-35 days from flowering depending on climate, with light crops in early summer followed by a main crop in December – January. Yield is very good.

Strawberry Temptation™ Medium bright red shiny fruit with excellent flavour. Pale firm flesh.
Habit – Compact strong growing strawberry. Tough and resilient in relation to pest and diseases.
Size – Give these medium plants close spacing.

Pollination – Self-fertile. Only NZ bred Day Neutral strawberry which means they will set fruit regardless of how long or short the days are making this an ideal fruiter national wide. Will extend the North Island season. Harvest – Consistent high yields of berries ripening over a long period from October to March.
To enhance your strawberries and increase the crop yields by 200 to 400% drench the bed with Mycorrcin after planting and repeat again in a couple of months time. Then spray the plants with Mycorrcin every two weeks till end of season.

One comment on “Strawberry Planting Time

  1. Missey on said:

    why do my strawberry’s in my glass house keep going moldy ?

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