Good morning guys! I'm super excitedbecause I finally got my hands on some Charlotte strawberries.
I've been piningafter these from my own garden for over a year now, ever since I tasted them atsomeone else's farm.
And I know all strawberries are delicious–my former favorites were Cabot and Wendy which are pretty hard to beat.
Oh my goshwould you be quiet over there?! Sorry my hen is real excited she just laid heregg.
But Charlotte blows everything out ofthe water it's amazing! It's just like this sweet wonderful strawberry candybomb of flavor! Charlotte is a French variety that came from a cross betweenMara du Bois a French heirloom and a California variety, which I can'tremember the name of right offhand, but if you're familiar with Mara du Bois youknow that it kind of has a cult following because of it's incredibleflavor and this amazing aromatic floral fragrance that it has.
The problem withMara is that the berries are quite small and soft.
So what Charlotte has done isto take that amazing, amazing flavor and combine it with a bigger, firmer berrywhich makes for a really nice eating experience.
So I'm gonna get my newCharlottes planted today and I also wanted to share with you a few tips thatI've kind of learned about growing strawberries through trial and errorover the years.
Now the very first thing I want to point out, and this couldperhaps be the most important is this soil.
Now I wish this were our soil, it isnot.
We have horrible awful clay soil andthis has taken a lot of work on my part.
My point is here, the strawberries willactually do well in a wide variety of soil types, but they don'tlike heavy slow draining wet soil which is pretty much exactly what I have.
So to amend this soil, and to amend this whole plot where I've got these berriesplanted, I basically had to dig out a lot of the clay, bring in some peat andcompost, mix everything together and then dumpback on this site before I plant it.
So now what we have is this nicewell-draining, high in organic matter soil, which is really gonna supportstrawberries.
The other thing to keep in mind with strawberries, is that they doprefer a slightly higher pH, so between 5.
5 and 6.
Sothese are bare root strawberry plants, you can see they don't look like a wholelot here but these will perk up once they're planted.
So I got these in themail, I actually bought these plants from Gurney's and just receive them about aday and a half ago.
As soon as I got them I stuck the roots in water and let themsoak and then I'm gonna separate these out.
I think I should have ten plantshere.
I'm gonna get these planted.
So when planting strawberries you just want tomake a planting hole that's gonna be deep and wide enough to accommodate thisroot system without crowding or bending it.
So I'm gonna go in here make a nicedeep hole, place this plant in here make sure I got enough room for the roots.
Andthen you want this crown, which is the very top growing point of this planthere, to be right at soil level.
So place my plant and then I'm gonna backfillwith my soil, make sure that crown stays level and just firm that soil in to kindof get rid of any air pockets.
And we're going to do the same with the rest ofthe berry plants.
Depending on where you're planting and what variety youhave you'll see planting instructions varying from anywhere between ten inchesapart for plants to 24 inches.
Some plants will need a little extra roombecause they tend to be very vigorous, put out very vigorous runners.
In generalI like to space mine about twelve inches apart that gives plenty of room for theplants to spread and put out new runners and makes for a nice filled in, kind of apretty strawberry patch.
Now I've got these all planted I'm justgonna give them a small dose of a balanced fertilizer, a 10-10-10 will workwell.
And that's just to get these plants kind of a jumpstart on growth.
Somethingto keep in mind with strawberries, I've noticed a lot of advice out on theinternet that says to fertilize them in the spring, but from looking atuniversity research you actually want to avoid fertilizing them with nitrogen inthe spring because this will lead to a lot of excess foliar growth and softberries– which is not good because soft berries are more prone to attacks frominsects and rots and those types of things.
It's better to actually fertilizethem right after the harvest because that will help rejuvenate the plants, especially if you're doing a planting renewal at that time, like mowing downall your plants and letting them flush out new growth.
The other thing is toavoid over fertilizing in general, over nitrogen in general because again thatwill lead to a lot of foliar growth on these plants at the cost of the yield–so you'll get more foliage, less berries which is not what you want.
And thenwe're gonna water these babies in.
You want to keep these watered well untilthey get established and then strawberries, as a general rule, preferabout an inch to an inch and a half of water per week.
It is importantto keep them watered, but it's equally as important not to get overzealous andoverwater them because waterlogged roots are going to do just as much damage asunder watering them.
So if you're unsure like how much rain that you got, stickyour finger an inch to two inches down in the soil, if it feels super dry downin there just give them a nice deep drink of water once a week.
And then thelast step with these newly planted berries isto mulch them.
Now the name strawberries may have given you a clue butstrawberries grow well with a straw mulch.
It helps kind of keep their rootscool and moist it helps suppress weed competition.
But I will tell you honestlymy absolute favorite preferred mulch for strawberries is pine bark mulch or pinefines.
I don't have any right now so I'm not using them, but I find that it worksreally well, at least in my area with my soil because the pine tends to add alittle bit of acidity, it looks really nice, and it does an excellent jobkeeping the weeds suppressed.
So just keep that in mind– you can also usethings like pine needles, I think they sell like a chopped strawmulch which is actually a little easier to use, but kind of anything that's gonnahelp suppress the weeds.
Now keep an eye on your plants as they grow because inabout a month, month and a half or so, sometimes even less, they'll actuallystart to put on blossoms the first year.
You are going to want to pick these off.
I know that seems really counterintuitive like “What? I'm plantingthese for berries, why would I pick the flowers off?” But bear with me here.
Youwant to do this because if you let them fruit the first year you are essentiallysucking their ability to put vigorous growth into the plant and the roots.
Soby pinching the blooms off in the first year you're allowing the plant to get areally nice vigorous root system to really put a lot of growth and strengthinto this plant and that's gonna give you a bumper crop the following year.
Andit's going to give you bigger healthier plants and bigger yields in the long run.
So that's it! I got my new Charlottes planted and I'll be enjoyingberries in a couple of seasons– and I highly recommend you get somestrawberries planted too! Thanks for watching and I'll see you next time.