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Hi all,<br><br>
I need some help with our various berry plants. I really want to focus on getting these berry patches established in the right way this year, because we eat so many berries and they are so expensive to buy at the farmers' market. Raspberries are $5 for a tiny box, and my kids demolish them before we even get back to the car. So, it makes sense to me to focus on these as a home growing activity.<br><br>
My questions are:<br><br>
1) Weeds. How do you deal with the weeds in the strawberry plants? I am willing to pull them up by hand, but they are so thick and there are so many of them that when I try to pull them up by hand, I am also pulling up all the runners to the new baby strawberry plants.<br><br>
If I could carefully pull up as many weeds as possible, is there something I could put down in between them to keep the weeds down? Where we go to pick strawberries, they always have black plastic down with the strawberry plants growing up in between. but my plants aren't quite that neat and spaced apart.<br><br>
2) Speaking of spacing, and crowding...with the strawberries, they seem to be coming back very thickly this year. Do I need to dig some up and move them, or just let them go and they will space themselves out?<br><br>
Last year, I didn't get much yield at all from my strawberry plants, because they got pretty taken over with weeds.<br><br>
3) And speaking of digging up and moving baby plants...the raspberry plants have lots of little babies coming up all around them right now. Should I dig these up and move them so it doesn't get so thick that we can't get to the plants to pick the berries? They are kind of growing into a giant circle instead of a neat row.<br><br>
And right now there is just grass around them, so do I need to dig up all that earth and get the grass out to plant the new baby plants? What direction should I go with the raspberries? Should I just aim for trying to have one longer and longer row each year? Or several squares that you can walk in between and get to both sides?<br><br>
I'm not sure what direction to go with the berries, because we have a big field and lots of open space with full sun. BUT, I want to leave a big enough space that my kids can still play ball, etc, and run and play in the open space.<br><br>
Any experienced berry growers out there? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"> Thank you for reading!
 

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I really don't want to come across as a smart-aleck <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> but for mulching between strawberries, you could use a very thick layer of straw as is traditional.<br><br>
Strawberry plants can be kept spaced about 6-12" apart, removing some of the daughter plants and pinning the ones you want in place to keep it neat. You want 3-4' between rows so you actually have room to go in there. Usually the daughter plants that are out of place are just discarded, but there's no harm in sticking them in the ground elsewhere.<br><br>
Cane berries will do ok with grass all around them if you don't want to battle it, they may not spread as fast but whew that's a plus the rate some of them spread. I'd stay with a row so you can get to them all.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>JamieCatheryn</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15357826"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I really don't want to come across as a smart-aleck <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> but for mulching between strawberries, you could use a very thick layer of straw as is traditional.</div>
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That's not smart-aleck at all! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"> That's exactly what I wanted to know. Thanks!
 

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<b><i>1) Weeds. How do you deal with the weeds in the strawberry plants?</i></b><br>
I've tried straw. Only way it marginally helps is if I mow up the straw with the lawnmower (into little pieces of straw) and layer it on 2-3 inches thick. Maybe I'm a slacker, but with my kids and allergies, that kind of project just isn't feasible for me time and sanity wise.<br><br>
This year, my plan is to throw down 3 sheets of newspaper around the plants and throw down a few inches of fresh dirt/compost that's aged. Mostly to look pretty and to get the yard ready for showings (we're aiming to move so our whole family's in the same state), but hey, if it keeps weeds down, I'll be doing it more and for everything else. I tried it with two out of 6 rows of tomatoes last year, and honestly, I didn't see any difference in how the plants grew, other than I didn't hardly have to weed those two rows. Which was nice.<br><br><b><i>2) Speaking of spacing, and crowding...with the strawberries, they seem to be coming back very thickly this year. Do I need to dig some up and move them, or just let them go and they will space themselves out?</i></b><br>
They will absolutely <b>not</b> space themselves out. You have to go in and either clip the runners, or transplant crowns and weed out the spent crowns. I started with maybe two dozen strawberry crowns 5-6 years ago. I now have almost 140sf of plants, and am in the process of transplanting and thinning, yet again. Ooof. I've got hundreds of plants now, seriously.<br><br><br><b><i>3) And speaking of digging up and moving baby plants...the raspberry plants have lots of little babies coming up all around them right now. Should I dig these up and move them so it doesn't get so thick that we can't get to the plants to pick the berries? They are kind of growing into a giant circle instead of a neat row.</i></b><br>
Yup, dig 'em up while they're little and green and put them where you want them, now. They will absolutely go insane and grow in all kinds of directions, so they need some help.<br><br><br><b><i>And right now there is just grass around them, so do I need to dig up all that earth and get the grass out to plant the new baby plants? What direction should I go with the raspberries? Should I just aim for trying to have one longer and longer row each year? Or several squares that you can walk in between and get to both sides?</i></b><br>
My neighbor has grass/raspberries in the same spot. Harder to mow, that's for sure. But it works, and her berries still produce. A row about 12-18 inches deep works fine, as long as you can get around it on either side. If you can only get to the berries from one side, stick to 6-12 inches deep.<br><br><br><b><i>I'm not sure what direction to go with the berries, because we have a big field and lots of open space with full sun. BUT, I want to leave a big enough space that my kids can still play ball, etc, and run and play in the open space.</i></b><br>
Your kids will still run around and play. Not sure how playing ball will work out though. I have 1200sf of garden beds in my backyard. My entire lot, including house/driveway/utility/road easement footprint is .29 acres. So the backyard's maybe a third of that, and my beds don't even take up the whole thing. My kids (6.5yo, 4yo, 22mo, and a 2mo who doesn't do much yet) just run and chase each other around, pick flowers, sneak strawberries/raspberries, "help" pick green tomatoes, etc. The 22mo was a pest last year and didn't quite understand that she needed to stay <b>off</b> the plants, but she's getting better now. If we really, truly needed a huge wide open field to play in, there's a park 4 blocks away, bigger ones 1-2 miles away. Let someone else water and mow grass, I'll water and harvest food. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 
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