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A Message from Margaret Roach
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My strawberry plants are just getting small berries and I was wondering if there is anything I can give them to help give them flavor. Last year I harvested quite a lot of berries from my plants (they are everbearing), but they didn’t have a lot of flavor- they were plump, beautiful red, but no flavor. I haven’t been using fertilizers and wonder if I should be applying at least an organic one. If so, what do you recommend? Or is there something else I should be doing?
Hi, Elaine. You say that your berries are ever-bearing, but at least as important to know is the variety name: Some just aren’t as large or tasty as others. And ever-bearing varieties (as well as day-neutral kinds) are usually smaller-fruited than June-bearers that only produce the single crop. So variety can come into the picture. So can moisture (as with any fruit crop); the best yield of best-quality fruit will be with an even supply of moisture through the growing season, but especially when the fruit is forming–a deep soaking of an inch or two a week at the roots, not just a spritz with the hose-end sprayer. Strawberry patches should be cleaned up each year and "renovated" (this bulletin from University of Illinois tells how, along with a good description of the hill method of planting, http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/strawberries/growing.html). And yes, they like to be fed. Usually this is recommended in July or thereabouts, with a balanced fertilizer. And at winter’s end and again when you renovate the bed each year, compost, compost, compost. Margaret
Thank you for the information, Margaret. I will check out the Illinois and I am going out to deep water my strawberries right now!
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‘never stop wanting more plants, my garden mentor instilled in me 20-plus years ago, regularly reminding me of another gardener, past 90, who still lusts for every new thing he can get a cutting of. I promise not to, until I myself am back in the soil.’