Strawberry Starts - first growth - to remove blooms or not?

Discussion in 'Fruit and Veg Gardening' started by Melody Mc., May 18, 2023.

  1. Melody Mc.

    Melody Mc. Young Pine

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    This is my second year of a new variety and location of strawberries. Half of the bed is two year old plants this summer, and the other half is new starts. I have shifted from June Berries to a recommended northern everbearing called Fort Laramie. So far I love the berry - large, productive, sweet and cold tolerant.

    My question is regarding the process of the new starts. I did a lot of reading and the message seemed to be to invest in your plant's future size and health by removing all first flowers and runners until the second bloom. I did this last year, and this year I do have nice full plants.

    However....it is a painful process in a short season to pinch the first flowers of a promised strawberry, and then take the gamble of losing the entire plant over winter ( I lost one third of my plants last winter to voles and winter kill).

    My gut is telling me to just go with what the plant wants and let the first flowers do their thing, but continue to pinch off the runners.

    I would really appreciate if anyone could share their experience with first season strawberry starts, and how they found the plant/fruit production the second year.

    Thanks so much. :)
     
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  3. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Mel, I do not pinch off blooms on new plants. I know about pinching first year blooms and I have done it with some flowering perennials. I know the reasoning but I just let them get on with it. Their first year I am not at all expecting much fruit-wise, I just want the plants to establish themselves. I would absolutely remove every runner your new plants produce.

    You know Mel— know what your acquired plants were like…but the ones that I buy have a mature root system and well-developed growing points. Take a look:
    420B7193-7F58-48F3-95F8-D24351F4B23B.jpeg

    The way it goes with me is that I get some strawbs the first year, the second year I get loads of strawbs ant the third year; if they do not get replaced, the third year they produce lots and lots of fruit but they are quite small. Usually I only use the plants two years.

    A tip is to use lots of a commercial rhododendron or hydrangea soil in your bed. My strawbs like an acid soil.
     
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  4. Clay_22

    Clay_22 In Flower

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    I am trying Strawberries myself this year. The ones I received looked just like your picture @Sjoerd .
     
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  5. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Great!
    Well, all ought to work well for you then. Just keep them hydrated on time without “over-watering”. Haha that is such a silly way to say that, but it is true that you mustn’t let the new plants dry out for the foreseeable future. They are so sensitive in the beginning.

    I have already begun watering my strawbs. Strawbs are after all a water fruit and they have relatively shallow feeding roots at this stage of fruit-forming I am aware of not letting them have any hint of dryness. i will soon be mulching and netting them.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2023
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  6. Odif

    Odif Young Pine

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    I never cut the flowers either.
     
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  7. Melody Mc.

    Melody Mc. Young Pine

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    Thank you everyone - I appreciate it. :) I'm very happy to be leaving the flowers this year.

    Sjoerd - my starts were about 1/3 of the size of yours. Quite small. Last year they were moldy. This year they were wrapped in moss and quite dried out.

    I have three plants that are three years old. My plan is to try and keep my own starts for bed replacement next year from these plants ( only the first baby on the runner). I tried it with two babies last year and they overwintered well and were larger than the starts I received in the mail. The health of the starts I receive, the timing with the cold weather, and the cost have me motivated to try. $31 for 24 strawberry roots, and $12.95 shipping. Seven starts weren't viable. Ka-ching Ka-ching.
     
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  8. Clay_22

    Clay_22 In Flower

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    @Melody Mc. I got mine from a seller called MI Gardener. He had 10 dormant bare roots at $7.99 USD. It was such a great deal. When they came said said to soak for so many hours before planting. So far so good.
     
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  9. Daniel W

    Daniel W Young Pine

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    This is a very interesting topic for me. I'm certainly not a strawberry expert, except to say that I have only planted them in areas where deer had access, and apparently strawberries are some sort of marijuana for deer. They ate them down to nubs, every time.

    This year I bought some plants at the home improvement store. Planted them in the fenced garden, in a large container among tulips. We'll see how they do.
     
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  10. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Mel— it sounds like you are pretty handy with growing strawbs already. Your plan sounds good to me. I used to do that and still give away some runners to certain gardeners here. In fact the lady down the way got a few and they are blooming now. She had never had success growing them. I could see several reasons for that but she wasn’t looking for advice, just plants. Berries will form this year, but if she will take precautions to protect them, I don’t know.

    I am a bit disturbed to hear about the quality of the plants that you ordered. It would not be a bad idea to communicate your ideas and disappointment with the condition to the business.
    Here to avoid such irritations, I go to the business, check it out, speak with the owners and then decide if they are a proper business selling proper plants. the first times that I ordered from my vendors I went and picked up the plants myself, later I trusted the chaps enough to just have them delivered by mail. The brothers turned out to be professional, give good advice and recommendations. Further, they have two sizes of plants that you can buy and two delivery times (may or august). I like choices.

    It is a pity that your business isn’t close enough to you that you could pop over for a looksy and chin-wag.

    Daniel—good luck with your strawberries this year. I hope that the small beasts will leave your harvest alone.
     
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  11. Melody Mc.

    Melody Mc. Young Pine

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    That is great advice Sjoerd, thanks. It is really wonderful that you can go see your suppliers and have found someone reliable. Are those the same brothers that you buy your leeks from? My supplier is in Manitoba, and shipping is about 5 to 7 days. I have asked them to ship on a Tuesday instead of a Friday so that they do not have weekend transportation, but they say that they need the staff to start on a Monday to prepare all of the shipping of live frieght. It is usually mailed on a Thursday or Friday, then I receive it hopefully Tuesday.

    Last year I ordered Haskap Berries from them, as well as from a very well known company on the East Coast of Canada. They were the only two suppliers I could find that would do a small order of certain cross pollinators. That journey took over ten days, and the berries were not viable. They must suffer a lot of loss, as they returned my money immediately when I called. Regarding the dead strawberries from the Manitoba company, this year they have has asked me to wait six weeks, take a photo and ask for a refund within 90 days. ( crickets chirping in the background....)

    I believe the reality of that most people who use a northern mail order seed company, only have one chance to grow something within a very small window. So....the companies approach is - what's the rush? hahaha. Ah well.

    I'm glad to know you had success with starting yours. I have a similiar neighbour that I gift - it is the thought that counts and all one can do is hope for the best. I let go of the plant and don't wonder about it as soon as I give it to her.
     
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  12. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Hiya Mel— you are welcome. I hope my waffling was helpful to you.

    The strawberry guys are not the same as where I get the leeks. The leak guys are much closer to me in a neighbouring village a few minutes away.

    I feel like you are sort of at the mercy of those Manitoban shippers. Their attitude does not impress me.

    Send a few pics when you have the time to take some. I would love to see how they are going.
     
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  13. Clay_22

    Clay_22 In Flower

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    Here they are alive and growing 0521231001-1.jpg
     
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  14. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Ahh, looking good, mate. Those leaves have a good colour. Keep a good eye on those.
     
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  15. Melody Mc.

    Melody Mc. Young Pine

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    Those look great Clay! My Dad used to have all of his strawberries in large pots and half oak barrells. They always looked so nice and stayed so clean.

    This is my strawberry bed, new last year. It is built around the poles that hold our satellite dishes for internet and TV, ( hence the adjustable chain to allow for dish line ups when there are frost heaves).The poles with the flags are so that I don't run over it with the plough truck in winter. :rolleyes: (I'll have to make them a little taller next year, only about ten inches were sticking out of the snow at the end of winter last year and I sit low in the seat. )





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  16. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Thanks for pics of your bed, Mel. You made it easy to see what’s going on.

    That is quite a variety of plants you have there, in terms of age. It looks like the type of bed that you could easily cover for protection.

    It really looks thoughtful and the plants seem to be coming along quite well.
     
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