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Strawbale Gardening: Time to transplant strawberries

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Gourdbeader
Toledo, OR
(Zone 8a)

August 4, 2009
2:33 PM

Post #6905808

I hope that I am not jumping the gun just a bit but I feel the need to get my berries transplanted into the new bales as I want them to get established before the cold season comes in like a bang of gangbusters.
Do you think I could go ahead and transplant now. They still have some blossoms and several berries but I don't want to wait till the last berry to transplant. They have done so well this year and I am so afraid to loose a single one.
Please give me some detailed info on transplanting my babies.
They have done a very good job this year but their houses are all colapsing and I need to step in soon.
Jan

Thumbnail by Gourdbeader
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Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

August 17, 2009
7:00 AM

Post #6955493

Hi Jan,

I have never grown strawberries, but I remember my mom rooting one runner plant for the following year and then throwing the old one away. I don't know if they get depleted in one years growing or why that is done. She always left the new one attached to the plant and pinned it down into the soil until it rooted.

Please don't throw your plants away. LOL, just thought it was something to check into.

BTW, your grass and bale plants sure do look healthy and nice. Good for you.

Jeanette
Gourdbeader
Toledo, OR
(Zone 8a)

August 17, 2009
2:51 PM

Post #6956428

Thanks Jnette,
I have almost finish my transplants. What a pain. I can't believe how many plants came from my initial dozen or so plants two years ago. Wow, when I dug them out of the bales I realized that there were several plants that multiplied withing the mother plant not to mention all the runners. I was afraid to throw any of them away so most of them were transplanted into all my new bales. I am afraid that I am going to have to get more bales if I want to plant anything else. I love my strawberries and they took up almost all of the new bales.
TIP- Don't use orchard grass bales. I think I may have made a mistake. Like you warned me they are very slimmy within but that might be okay for one year. They break down too fast. I will most definately go with strawbales next time. But hey, why look a gift horse in the mouth? They were free. I know, I know, you get what you pay for. Isn't that the truth.
Here is what it looks like today. I still have one row of strawberries to transplant. Ran outta bales. ehehe
The ground bed that I planted all my dahalias in...and tomatoes...and bell peppers...and squash...and onions...etc.etc.etc. Big mistake again. Everything grew this year. Never did before. I guess all the tilling was a good thing but next year I will only plant what I need. I had to rip out about a dozen tomatoe plants, all the bell peppers cause the slugs got to them because I couldn't see the ground, several carrots because I planted way too close. I just never had a garden grow so well before. Next year will be better and I will plant with a purpose instead of greed. heheheh
I will let you know what goes with the strawberries next year. All the runners that I transplanted already had roots attached so I cut and planted them. I cut away all excess leaves so the energy could go to the roots. I left a couple of leaves so they could grab some sunshine. Oh, yea, another thing about the orchard grass bales, whew!!!! they stick like amonia. I know that is a good thing as it means they are breaking down but wow. Stinky !!!
I also had too many misquitoes this year. Two is too many. The day I transplanted I looked like I had the measles. Not a happy camper.
Okay, more info then you wanted but there ya go.
Have a great day.
Jan

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Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

August 17, 2009
3:49 PM

Post #6956693

Boy Jan you are going to be selling strawberries next year. But hey, they are really good for you. Eating them that is. Your garden is beautiful. Now, your strawberries won't freeze out will they? You might want to toss something over them this winter.

As for the bales: I wanted hay this year. I paid $5 per for orchard grass with 40% alfalfa. It isn't bad but it is breaking down pretty fast at this point, 3 months. It took a long time to get started decomposing which set me back because I couldn't seem to get holes for the plants. That might have been another problem. I got tomato plants from my sister and they were so big they even had some tomatoes on them. Therefore, bigger holes needed.

I know what you mean about "free", however, if you didn't like it, then it isn't worth free. We don't have so many mosquitoes, but bees. Not good bees, but even the base of my hummingbird feeder had about 15 bees in it when I cleaned it. And I have 4 traps full of dead bees. I have emptied 2 that were really full. But, they keep me from watering. I have to do all my stuff outside before it warms up and the sun gets on them. The sun wakes them up.

Oh, I meant to say that all I planted in my bales were tomatoes and 2 pepper plants. The pepper plants finally kicked in and started growing a week or so ago and they almost doubled in size. I know there are peppers on them, but haven't really looked. Were your peppers in the bales when the slugs got them? If so, that would be unusual.

Better get busy before the bees do.

Jeanette

However, we were eating BLTs in July while normally late August if we are lucky, but usually September before we get ripe tomatoes.
Gourdbeader
Toledo, OR
(Zone 8a)

August 17, 2009
6:05 PM

Post #6957228

No, my tomatoes and peppers were in the ground. That was the problem. It was growing so fast and heavy I couldn't see what was going on. So if you notice the area in front of the ground bed, it is a little bare, that is where I cut and pulled out stuff. I still need to pull out a few more tomatoe plants. What ever was I thinking by planting everythings so close. Hum. You would think I knew better. I will next year.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

August 18, 2009
6:25 AM

Post #6959712

That is how you learn. But, too bad you had to pull them out. Oh well, next year is another.

quilter_gal
(Elizabeth) DFW Area, TX

August 20, 2009
6:30 PM

Post #6969099

Gosh, those strawberry plants look like real producers! They're quite at home in the bales, aren't they? :) Did you start with bare crowns or seed or growing plants?

I ordered some seed and I'll start them as soon as they get here - I'll probably leave them in pots so that I can bring them inside during cold weather. This year's plants have just faded away, one by one, despite all my attempts to nurse them through the heat. They were the "Berri Basket" variety - they looked really pretty and some of the fruit was very good. But, I didn't get them until around the end of May or later, and that was already too darn hot for strawberries. And I read that everbearing varieties don't do very well here, anyway so I won't do that again. Looks like growing them as annuals is the way to go here - strawberries in March! :)

After they're done, I might put them out in bales to set new plants for the next year.
Gourdbeader
Toledo, OR
(Zone 8a)

August 20, 2009
7:43 PM

Post #6969315

My were all starts when I planted them last year. This year they were huge and produced many babies but my bales were decomposing so I had to transplant. I do hope that my transplants take root. I am trying different bales this year so I may be sorry.
quilter_gal
(Elizabeth) DFW Area, TX

September 4, 2009
3:59 PM

Post #7025305

How did your plants fare? Are they done with transplant stress, yet?

My seeds are in the freezer for a couple of weeksand I also bought a bunch of some unknown type of strawberry plant from a guy on eBay. I thought I was buying twenty plants, but I ended up with 50 or 60 - I didn't think I'd ever be done cleaning and planting bare-root strawberries. ;)

Have a great day!
Elizabeth
Gourdbeader
Toledo, OR
(Zone 8a)

September 4, 2009
5:20 PM

Post #7025562

Well, most of my transplants died because I used orchard grass bales and they are not going to work at all as they have already started to decompose already so I am going to wait till next spring and buy some more wheatstraw bales. They held up the longest. I will have to end up buying more plants but these did so well I don't have a problem with that. I thought I was buying alot less then I did too until I unpotted them and discovered that there was more then one plant per pot.
Nice surprise though. Heheh
Mine were everbearing plants and I would get berries right up to the end of October and then some even into November. I love my berries. I now have a raspberry bed going and hope to get some great berries there next year.
Good luck with your new berries.
I highly recommend that no one should use the orchard grass bales. As you can see from the photos that the bales break down WAY too fast. They have already started to decompose. My wheat strawbales lasted two years. These lasted maybe 2 1/2 months.
Definately not acceptable. I lost all my transplants. ALL OF THEM!
Oh well, I had to give it a try. I will just wait till next year and buy new plants and new Wheat Straw Bales in the spring so they will be ready for transplanting as soon as possible.
Jan

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quilter_gal
(Elizabeth) DFW Area, TX

September 4, 2009
8:33 PM

Post #7026032

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that! So much work to get them all transplanted, too! I feel for you.

I have no idea what kind of straw I have - the guy who delivered this batch says it's almost pure Coastal grass and the stuff he grows is a Coastal grass mix.

He called it hay, but to this newbie's eyes, it looks like straw - there doesn't seem to be much leafy stuff in there - mostly stems. Isn't that how you tell the difference? I sure don't know! :)

I will sure keep in mind not to buy orchard grass. :(
Gourdbeader
Toledo, OR
(Zone 8a)

September 4, 2009
11:36 PM

Post #7026649

I hate to say it but you may have grass and not straw. You really need to use either oat or wheat straw. You should ask him before you plant in it. I am afraid you maybe in the same predicament as I am. My straw bales were great. The grass bales break down too fast. If I were you I would find out before I plant. Hate to be the barer of bad news. The orchard grass is all stems but it is not straw. Straw looks like it sounds. Like a straw. Grass looks like long stems of grass. Good luck
flowers_delight
Leicester, NC
(Zone 8a)

September 25, 2009
2:52 PM

Post #7102948

Love the strawberry bales. Question is do you get a lot of weeds come up in the bales?
Gourdbeader
Toledo, OR
(Zone 8a)

September 25, 2009
3:06 PM

Post #7103001

No, hardly at all. Once in a while one would wiggle its way through but never more then a few. It makes gardening so much easier. I absolutely love strawbale gardening. I have transplanted all my strawberries into the orchard grass bales and keeping my fingers crossed that some will survive the winter. I am going to have to buy more stawbales next spring as they seem to last the longest. I did have a few spurts of wheat straw seedlings but was able to just trim them away like I was mowing a lawn. It isn't necessary but makes them look more tidy. You really want to use wheat straw as there are too many seedlings in the oat straw bales. I guess its just a matter of preverance. I will never use orchard grass again though. I can't complain because they were free but I did loose a lot of transplants in the beginning. They also decompose way too fast. The wheat straw bales have lasted almost two and a half years. Now thats a good thing as Martha would say.
here is a comparison of the two bales

Thumbnail by Gourdbeader
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Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

September 25, 2009
4:01 PM

Post #7103172

Good comparison Jan. And everything you did was the same? Big difference. The reason you don't get the seeds sprouting, is because you are not spreading the straw out like mulch. Just like plowing or tilling, there are a lot of seeds in the soil that aren't growing because they are down so deep, but when you plow, till, them up they sprout 'cause all of a sudden they have light. That is the same with the bales. If you keep them so tightly baled together the seeds are not able to sprout. i.e. no light.

Also, you asked about weeds Flowers, straw comes from the hay the farmer plants, and just like Jan's strawberries, he does all he can to keep weeds out of the hay. The hay fields are his garden. If he allows one weed to grow, it reproduces in his hay like it would in her strawberries.

Jan, could you cover the bales for the winter and make them last longer if the weather doesn't get to them? I wonder if it would get too dry for the strawberries if you did that? Maybe if you just laid some plastic over them and not pull it down tight?

Jeanette
Gourdbeader
Toledo, OR
(Zone 8a)

September 25, 2009
5:39 PM

Post #7103429

Oh, I'm not going to do anything more with these bales. If they make it through the winter Great! If not then I will start fresh. I never did anything with the other bales and those sweet strawberries came back like a vengence each summer. I did cover them just a little with some extra straw but that all.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

September 25, 2009
11:41 PM

Post #7104516

Jan, you can't beat success. Don't change anything.

Jeanette
flowers_delight
Leicester, NC
(Zone 8a)

September 26, 2009
6:33 PM

Post #7106778

Well know there is a difference in hay and straw and always heard hay had more weeds. Don't know the difference except for looks and texture.
flowers_delight
Leicester, NC
(Zone 8a)

September 26, 2009
6:34 PM

Post #7106783

Another question is how many plants per bail. Say 5 inches apart ?
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

September 26, 2009
6:51 PM

Post #7106822

What kind of plants Flolwers? If they are big and sprawly like tomatoes, I plant 2. lettuce and things like that would be several more.

Jan, how many strawberries do you put in a bale?

Flowers, straw is what is left after they get the grains, like oats and wheat, out of it. It is the stalks.
Gourdbeader
Toledo, OR
(Zone 8a)

September 27, 2009
2:46 AM

Post #7108206

I plant about 8-10 strawberry plants per bale

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Other Strawbale Gardening Threads you might be interested in:

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Straw bale gardening: no weeding, no hoeing, no tilling KentNC 274 Oct 18, 2009 1:58 AM
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