Monday, March 9, 2009

Rushing the season

Last season I had two or three pots of Seascape strawberries on the wall next to the greenhouse. On a cold rainy day in the fall, with a freeze predicted, I just pulled the plants from the pots and stuck them in the garden. I really did not care if they survived or not, I just wanted to bring the pots in so that they would not crack from the cold.

While reading my new book on greenhouse gardening, I found that strawberries are among the plants they recommend for forcing in the greenhouse for an early crop.

As our granddaughter loves nothing better than fresh strawberries, I thought I would try to force some plants. However, last week the ground was frozen so solid, I could not pry any plants from the soil. This week I did manage to coax a few plants from their winter's nap.

After rinsing the soil from the roots, and spraying the plants with insecticide, the plants were placed in 4" net pots with expanded clay pellets as a media. They will be in an ebb and flow system indoors under lights, and I will move them to the greenhouse whenever the weather permits.

As the plants are going into their second year, they have a well developed root system, and should be OK. Actually, I was really surprised to see that they came through the winter as well as they did. Considering that I did not bother to mulch them, or provide any protection, they still had some green growth.

I used to think of strawberries as being delicate, now I am beginning to think you have to take a hammer to them to kill them.

It should be interesting to see what happens to them now.

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