TopVeg – growing veg,fruit&herbs

April 21, 2011

Straw under Strawberries

Filed under: Uncategorized, fruit — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 9:03 am

We have been placing straw under strawberries.  Mike hates the untidiness of straw, as it tends to get dropped on the way to the strawberry patch & bits of straw blow round the garden.  But while he is away, I thought I would take the opportunity to slip some under the strawberry plants.

straw-on-strawberry

straw-on-strawberry

The advantages of using straw under the strawberries are:

  • the fruits grow out onto the straw, and are kept off the soil, so the strawberries are clean
  • the straw stops weeds growing
  • the straw acts as a mulch and conserves moisture
  • the straw protects the strawberry plants against frost in winter
  • the straw holds the fruits up, allowing air to circulate freely, which keeps the fruit healthy & less prone to fungal diseases
  • the straw breaks down into organic matter which will eventually enter the soil & feed the plants
straw-between-rows

straw-between-rows

 We have tried alternatives:

  • no straw at all because the strawberries were planted through a plastic membrane.  The membrane will stop the fruits coming in contact with the soil.  But I found the strawberries tended to ’sweat’ on the plastic membrane, and then rotted.
  • wood chips - slugs were a problem
  • straw - barley straw is my favourite & this is what we have mainly used this year.  But I accidentally picked up some oilseed rape straw, which has been laid on the left hand side of the left strawberry row, in the photo below.  It has crushed up more, but it will be interesting to see how it compares over the fruiting season.  I would expect it to stay drier, but we will see.
straw-under-strawberry

straw-under-strawberry

Strawberry mats look a nice, clean alternative.  Perhaps someone will read this & remember my birthday next month!  You can click to buy them here!  But I wonder if they will be big enough?  Our strawberries tend to grow out a long way.

strawberry mats

strawberry mats

So much depends on the season: the rain, the temperatures and the humidity.  We are having a lot of misty weather just now.  But we will watch the fruit and see what effect the straw under the strawberries has.

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3 Comments

  1. We’ve used that fabric mesh weed stuff this year on a raised bed. Previously we’ve only done strawberries in pots. Hopefully they won’t rot on it.

    Comment by Elena — April 21, 2011 @ 10:13 am

  2. Hi Elena
    I am sure your fabric mesh stuff will be fine – as it is ‘breathable’. We used some black plastic membrane that builders use (because it was free!)- it does keep the weeds down and the moisture in – but the fruit gets damp when it rests on it – because the membrane does not let it breathe.
    AND..you will not be bothered by slugs if you are growing them on raised beds!

    Hope you have a fantastic crop this year! Kind regards

    TopVeg

    Comment by TopVeg — April 21, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

  3. [...] put straw under strawberries [...]

    Pingback by Jobs for May in the Vegetable Garden « TopVeg – growing veg,fruit&herbs — April 30, 2011 @ 8:50 pm

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