How to Keep Birds Away from Strawberries (Organic!)

how to keep birds away from strawberriesFor any home gardener, birds can be a problem.  Berries of all sorts disappear down the beaks of our feathered foes.  Unfortunately, strawberries are not exception.  Frustrated people ask fairly frequently how to keep birds away from strawberries.  Well, fret not, my friends.  I have full faith that you can out-smart the flying fiends.  Most folks know that birds aren't brilliant.  In fact, they are quite mentally diminutive.  However, they do learn quickly where the fast food may be found.  If you have already surrendered a crop of strawberries to the neighborhood aviators, this method might be more difficult to pull off.  If you haven't, you might take a subtle satisfaction at tricking the fluff-brains into leaving your harvest alone…

How to Keep Birds Away from Strawberries (with trickery!)

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The Archer Strawberry Variety

archer strawberry varietyIt has taken fifteen years for the Archer strawberry variety to come to fruition.  There is quite a bit of effort and a ton of patience involved in bringing a new strawberry variety to market.  And, the new Archer strawberry variety is no exception.  The New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York (Cornell University), has finally released the variety that was selected in 2001.  Courtney Weber, associate professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science, is the man responsible for this new and exceptional variety.  If early indicators are correct, this berry could significantly boost both farming revenues and culinary enjoyment.

What Makes the Archer Strawberry Variety Special?

Strawberry plants can be fickle.  They often succumb to fungal pathogens, and pests seem to enjoy munching on them just as much as humans do.  So, whenever the process of strawberry selection begins for a new variety, one of the main goals is to ensure that the plants can survive in the locations for which it is developed.  Archer does just that.  It is hardy and resistant to most of the common strawberry pathogens that can inflict losses on gardeners and commercial growers alike.

Hardiness isn't the most notable characteristic of the Archer strawberry variety, however.  Size matters.  Archer is a gigantic strawberry variety.  The berries are very large, topping out at a staggering 50 grams (a little bit less than 2 ounces).  That is quite large for a strawberry.  Big berries have been bred before, though.  The new Archer strawberry variety succeeds in another category where other large-fruited varieties have notably failed: taste.

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Ancient Strawberry Plants Genetic Sequencing

ancient strawberry plantsStrawberry plants are quite complex to be such small plants.  The production and yield from plants that size are normally fairly small, but the modern strawberry varieties have been bred extensively to produce huge yields from relatively small plants.  Since almost everyone loves strawberries, growing them has become big business.  In 2012, over 3 billion pounds of strawberries were produced in the United States, and the value of that haul was about $2,400,000,000 (according to the USDA).  That is some serious coinage by any standard.  And, that is why there is constantly research and scientific endeavors to increase strawberry production.  The more available, the more that will be purchased and eaten (or so the reasoning goes).  Literally hundreds of varieties have been developed and released over the years by different research stations in the US and across the globe.  The modern strawberry plants that give us the huge and delectable fruits of today weren't always such prolific producers.  In fact, ancient strawberry plants are quite a bit different.

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Strawberry Plant Disease Diagnosis

strawberry plant disease diagnosisFew things are more frustrating for a farmer or gardener than to toil for hours in heat and rain while nurturing his growing plants with tender loving care only to see some infernal sign that a microscopic invader has set up shop among the plants.  After working for hours preparing the earth, planting the plants, and weeding out the uninvited party crashers, it can provoke feelings of desperation, despair, and disillusionment to watch once-healthy plants wilt and die.

The wilting of future dreams and enjoyment as the plants become marred and disfigured with bacterial blemishes and fungal flaws is enough to make a budding gardener hang up the trowel and garden gloves for good.  Be ye irked no longer!  You don't have to wave the white flag of final surrender if the unseen organisms wage war upon your growing goodies.  In fact, you can identify and slay such scurrilous offenders with a little help from qualified specialists.

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If You Plant a Strawberry Top, Will It Grow a Strawberry?

if you plant a strawberry top, will it grow a strawberryIf You Plant a Strawberry Top, Will It Grow a Strawberry?

Over the course of the years, I have had several people ask me this question, or a version of it: “If you plant a strawberry top, will it grow a strawberry?”  This year, however, I have received a noticeable increase in the number of curious questioners hoping to make good on the part of the strawberry most commonly used as a grip while the rest of the fruit is gnawed in happy contentment.  After all, the little bit of white flesh left under the calyx and stem isn't good for much other than, perhaps, making a bit of strawberry water.  I don't know why the curiosity has spiked, but it is a valid question.  Since curious minds want to know…

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New Strawberry Varieties in Development

new strawberry varieties in developmentDetails of New Strawberry Varieties in Development…

Everyone loves bigger and better strawberries.  But, improvements to the existing strawberry varieties that are available commercially don't just magically appear.  Improving strawberry selections can be a long and tedious work.  Going from native species of strawberry plants that produce small (but delicious!) strawberries to the larger and more economical versions most of us are familiar with today is a process.  There are numerous obstacles to overcome in that process, and the vast majority of cultivars never pass the rigorous tests for release as an actually-improved strawberry variety.

Some of the main traits, of course, that breeding programs seek to improve are size and flavor.  But, equally important are the hardiness factors that allow the strawberry plants to thrive and succeed in a host of different environments.  Although strawberry plants are very hardy, new strawberry varieties in development need to improve resistance to different pathogens and infectious organisms to truly succeed on a large scale.

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Growing Strawberries in New Hampshire

growing strawberries in new hampshire0032 : Strawberry Plants Library

This is an entry in the Strawberry Plants Library here at Strawberry Plants .org. Continue reading for summarized information. The entire resource may be accessed or downloaded by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.

Growing Strawberries in New Hampshire

This document linked below was originally created by David T. Handley, University of Maine Extension Small Fruit and Vegetable Specialist, and William G. Lord, University of New Hampshire Extension Fruit Specialist.  It was published by the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.  This document is a valuable resource for both the beginning and experienced strawberry growers.  While the specifics are tailored by the authors to growing strawberries in New Hampshire, the principles can be readily adapted to any state.  The following is covered in the publication:

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When Do Strawberry Plants Die?

when do strawberry plants dieQ: When Do Strawberry Plants Die?

On September 13th, 2011, Elenor asked:

When do strawberry plants die?  My strawberry plants are doing badly. They used to flourish for the first 3 years, but now are thinning out and getting scraggly. It is mid-September, I read about renovation – to be done around June after harvest. Can these plants be dug up and dried out through the winter, and replanted in the spring? When I bought them they were just dried out looking bare clean roots.  What should I do to keep them happy and healthy?

Answer to: When Do Strawberry Plants Die?

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How Old Are My Strawberry Plants?

how old are my strawberry plantsQ: How Old Are My Strawberry Plants?

On June 7, 2011, Diane asked:

We have strawberries in raised beds. We are getting smaller and smaller berries every year. I think I need to thin the plants. Is there a way to tell by looking at them which plants are oldest? I need to know how old are my strawberry plants. We also need to fertilize and water them. We were really just letting nature take it’s course. With a fair amount of success until now. The berries are just mostly really small this year. Thanks for this site. It was very helpful. I’m also wondering if when you create new plants from runners are you supposed to pinch off the blossoms on those or just on new bare root plants? If you are supposed to pinch them off the new runner plants, how can you tell which plants are new in the Spring? They all look the same to me in the bed. Thanks.

Answer to: How Old Are My Strawberry Plants?

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Delizz Strawberry Plants & Seeds

strawberry delizzDelizz strawberry plants are here!  Strawberry plants are constantly being developed and cross-bred in attempt to improve upon the already-great qualities inherent in the small fruits.  When the breeding programs scattered across the globe stumble upon (or painstakingly isolate!) genetic traits that result in superior strawberries, strawberry lovers everywhere benefit.  It just so happens that a new strawberry variety has been developed and released and will be headed to markets in the United States as early as this spring.

ABZ Seeds, a Dutch company from Andijk-Holland specializing in gourmet strawberries, has developed a new strawberry cultivar called Delizz Strawberry.  Delizz strawberries are being produced and sold through the Holland Strawberry House at present, but are headed this way amidst significant buzz, and should be available at some point this spring 2016 (be sure to check the seed and plant directories for availability).  They were available in Europe, Asia, and Australia last year (2015).

Characteristics of Delizz Strawberry Plants

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