About a week ago, I received the bare root strawberries that I had ordered a while back. When I opened the package, this is how they looked; horrible!
I guess I imagined that they’d come in neat little individual trays, all perky and green; ready to go. These… not so much.
I was afraid that since they were so dry and shriveled up, that they would not live. I immediately put them in a bowl of water, hoping to revive them. I needed to put them out in the garden, but it needs to be tilled again before I start planting, and it was still raining outside.
Not sure if I was doing the right thing with the plants or not, I decided to try calling Heirloom Acres, where I had ordered them from. I was really surprised, impressed really, when Thom Kirk himself got on the phone to answer all of my questions. I guess that’s the benefit of dealing with a small family business. I was ever so appreciative for his time!
He assured me that I hadn’t done anything wrong. Ideally, I should have left them in the paper they were wrapped in (for up to a week), until I could plant them; stored in a cool, dry place. But he told me to go ahead and drain the water from them, wrap them up in newspaper and put them in the fridge, being sure to keep them from freezing. He also told me that I could put them in a pot with some potting soil until I could plant them outside, but I didn’t have any soil on hand.
Up until today they’ve stayed in the bottom of my fridge. The ground is still too wet to be worked, so I really can’t get them into the garden yet. I was afraid that the plants would soon die if I didn’t get them in some dirt though, so I decided that today would be planting day.
My husband was sweet and brought home a bag of potting soil for me. We also had a bag of compost/manure that I used. I had spotted several big planting pots in the woods beside my dad’s house the other day, and snagged them up for the project.
Since I didn’t have enough potting mix to fill all of the planters, I decided to fill the bottoms of the pots with topsoil from the garden, then fill the rest with soil and compost. The kids were happy to help, and busily filled them up!
Before planting, I trimmed the roots of the plants to about 4 in. When you plant strawberries, you need to make sure to plant only to the crown of the plant; meaning plant only to the top of the roots. If you plant too deeply (or too shallow) it will die.
Once I had the soil and compost mixed well, I put 5 plants in each planter. After about an hour and a half of doing this job, however, I got so tired of digging and planting that I gave up! So, after planting 14 of the strawberries individually, I decided to just stick the 11 remaining plants into one pot as a big clump. I really didn’t care at that point. I was exhausted!
I gave them all a good sprinkling with the hose. They look horrible.
I do hope they survive until I can properly plant them.
Boy, this gardening stuff is hard work! Filling and hauling those heavy containers from the garden to the back steps wore me out. It would be so much easier to just go to a nursery and buy some nice looking strawberry plants whenever my garden is ready, and plant them instead of nurturing these for a time.
I’m feeling overwhelmed, and discouraged already. And I haven’t even broken into the whole garden bed! Maybe it’s being almost 6 months pregnant, eating junk food all day (bad, I know), and catering to my other two children non-stop. I don’t know, but I’ll be so frustrated if nothing I plant even grows!
Okay, sorry for the negativity! I’m really just venting right now. I hope I’m not spreading my bad aura onto the plants… maybe I should go sing to them or something 😉
Oh, I sure hope they grow!
Yay! They’re alive!!
I ended up transplanting these babies to the garden a few weeks later. You can read about how I initially tried the mound method here.
My strawberries have done amazingly well. I’ve actually moved them to a raised bed, and they keep coming back like a champ!
1 yr. later
2 yrs. later
Woops! Way too crowded now! These guys will be thinned out and transplanted to new homes. It’s amazing how quickly they multiply! Sure makes the money well worth spending.