How to Grow Strawberries Organically

by on November 10th, 2014
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Fresh strawberries from the garden, what could taste better on a warm summer afternoon? Growing them organically is an excellent way to ensure they are healthy for you and your family. By keeping things as organic as possible, you will have delicious strawberries. These berries are perfect for preserves, jams, jelly, wine, cakes or eating right out of the garden. Strawberries need nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in order to grow and produce. If you have any doubt about what your soil may be lacking or exceeding, have it tested. The results will show you what you need to correct.

Add Compost

If you are trying to keep your strawberries healthy and safe to eat, then that means your fertilizer needs to be organic also. In the spring, incorporate 1 inch of well-rotted compost into the soil early in the season. As you mix it into the soil, be careful not to damage the roots. Organic compost adds nutrients into the soil and it lightens the soil so it drains better.

Add Bone Meal for Phosphorous

Add bone meal into the soil beginning in June. Repeat the application once a month with the last one in September. Bone meal is an excellent source of phosphorous. It is made from animal bones that are crushed and ground into a coarse powder. It has been used in gardens for centuries, and before it was sold commercially, farmers would make their own. If your soil lacks phosphorous, the strawberry plants may be smaller and they won’t have many blossoms. Fewer blossoms mean fewer strawberries.

Bone meal is scratched into the soil so it is close to the strawberry’s roots. Then it is watered into the soil so it gets down deep. Always read and follow the directions on the label of the correct proportions.

Blood Meal for Nitrogen

For great strawberries, scratch blood meal into the soil. Blood meal is applied once a month starting in June and continuing until September. Blood meal is an excellent organic source of nitrogen. Read the label directions and use only the amounts specified.

Potash Adds Potassium

Potash is an excellent source of potassium. This is applied once a month from June through September. If you have a wood-burning stove, wood ash can replace potash.

Place a layer of mulch around the strawberry plants. Mulch is wonderful to help the soil retain moisture. It also keeps the weeds from growing. This means less work for you. I don’t know about you, but I am all for less work, especially when it comes to pulling weeds.

Follow All Label Directions

The important thing to remember when adding a fertilizer, whether it is organic or man-made chemical, is not to use more than the label recommends. More will not make the strawberry plants to grow and produce more; it can burn or even kill your plants.

Sources:

“American Gardening”; James W. Withers; 1989

“Strawberries in the Home Garden;” E. Barclay Poling; 1993

“Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening;” J. L. Rodale; 1999″ƒ


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