Landscaping & Nursery Information for Home Gardeners

Strawberries in the Home Garden

Strawberry plants may be set during midsummer between the hills of corn or snap beans. They will thus  have the balance of the season in which to develop into  bearing plants and will yield a partial crop of fruit  the following year.  Make strawberry rows farther apart than usual  in garden practise--24" or 30"-and sow globe beets,  short rooted carrots or onions in rows between them  both the first and the second season. Train the berry  plant runners in a narrow ("hedge") row so as to allow plenty of room for the vegetables and yet produce  abundance of good berries. 

Tomato, pepper, eggplant, okra and sweet corn plants may be grown during the first year of a  strawberry bed provided the berry plants are set 18"  to 24" asunder in rows not less than 24" apart. Onion  sets may be planted down the middles between the  berry rows at the same time as the berry plants are  set. As all these crops will have been harvested before  October the berry plants will have the autumn in  which to prepare for fruiting the next year. The vege-  table plants should be removed as soon as they have  yielded their crops. 

Strawberry beds that have fruited only once may be left until enough plants have been rooted to be  transplanted to make new beds and then plowed or  dug under; or they may be mowed with a scythe or a hay mowing machine (not the lawn mower), their leaves and the straw mulch shaken up and, when  dried, burned on a breezy day where they lie. Soda  nitrate and superphosphate (1 pound each to 100  sq. ft.) and a thorough soaking will put the bed in  good shape for a crop the next year.

Everbearing strawberries require such frequent picking that the soil is sure to become hard packed.  This will result in smaller, fewer berries than in unpacked soil. Weekly cultivation is a partial remedy  but it is open to the objections that it is likely to injure  the roots, to throw earth on the berries and to necessitate extra watering to offset the losses of moisture  from the soil. Straw and marsh or salt hay, though  good winter mulches, are less desirable for summer  than buckwheat hulls and peat moss applied soon  after the flowers open and increased as the season advances. But even these are likely to become packed  between the rows by the frequent tramping. 

To avoid all packing of the soil and also the otherwise necessary cultivation, lay out the beds in groups of three or four rows 18" apart with a 24" alley between the groups and with the plants of such large  growing varieties as Mastodon 18" asunder. Spread  the first application of buckwheat hulls as mentioned.  Then, at intervals of 4' to 6' place bricks, broad side  down. inthe alleys and lay 12" boards on them from  end to end of the alleys. As these boards will not touch  &,e soil they will not pack it when walked on but will  also help to check evaporation. When not more than  four rows are placed between the alleys all the plants  may be reached easily from one alley or the next and  far larger quantities of finer fruit may be gathered  than without the boards. 

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