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Apr 27, 2009 01:59 PM

Strawberry Plants: Mulch?

So is it absolutely necessary to mulch? And if so, what to mulch with? I've got lots of shredder chips. The plants are just starting to fruit and I noticed one in particular(further along so a bit heavier than others) that is just touching the soil. Obviously, I don't want it to stay there and I'm assuming the other plants will soon have the same problem. So please, gardening experts, help a beginner out!

Also, as I stated in another thread, I do have a bit of a roly poly problem in my garden and I've noticed a few plants with small families of them sleeping around the crowns. Will mulching with the chips help or hurt in this regard?

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  1. We use strawhay btwn the strawberry plants and spray with this home remedy for bugs and flying pests throughout the growing season. The Victory Garden is where I learned about the tabacco juice and I've been using this remedy for years. This season 40 strawberry plants for jam season!

    Tobacco juice,water and dish wash soap.
    Buy some chewing tobacco soak it in a 1 gal milk jug or other container.Let the tobacco soak in the water for at least 1 day or more.Then use this measure one third tobacco juice, 3 Tbl spoons of dish wash,two thirds of water.This works great,but you will have to apply it regularly.It really depends on the weather and humidity.And it also works as a mosquito repellent.Just spry it on all the plants in the yard mainly under the leaves,cause this is where they are in the daylight hours.

    3 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      Wow! Does this really work on the pillbugs? And does the tobacco not affect the flavor of the plants in contact? It's be awesome if it works, thanks for the suggestions!

      1. re: baloney

        No it doesn't affect the plants and your strawberry yield will be washed prior to enjoyment, right?! Works for us! I'm not suggesting you over dose with the tobacco "tea" it's intended to be a remedy not a daily spraying. Good luck!

        1. re: baloney

          Tobacco juice, more formally nicotine, is an old pesticide that meets the general naturalness standards for organic. However, use in agriculture has been banned because of excessive toxicity to humans.

      2. Please PLEASE correct me if I am wrong here, but shouldn't mulch be removed in the spring? To me that is more a winter activity. If you mulch in winter, use a mulch you can easily remove come spring like the straw.

        I don't mulch them. I just let come what may. We had a particularly cold set of winter freezes this year. We shall see if I have functional plants this year. You have to be hearty in ol' Sal's garden!

        poor plants....

        5 Replies
        1. re: Sal Vanilla

          I haven't mulched them yet and didn't have plans to do so(los angeles weather probably doesn't need it). I just thought it might be necessary to put something as a barrier between the fruit and the soil. Heck, if the fruit'll be ok than I'd rather not have to do anything! You see I'm laaaazzzzyyyy...

          1. re: baloney

            LA no mulch needed. I am pretty darn sure. I lived in San Diego and had strawberries growing on a slope. Never mulched. Produced like crazy.

            1. re: Sal Vanilla

              I elevate mine on small hills just each one but don't mulch, but I am FL, lots of rain, do use a bug spray, it is as close to organic as you can get but admit it isn't totally. We have so many bugs here that I have tried a lot and really have to spray but definitely use as little as possible. I do put cayenne around the outside of the plants in a perimeter which seems to help and have heard of the tabasco which I have heard works. I have 6 plants and I raise them slightly and then seem to do well.

          2. re: Sal Vanilla

            It depends on what you use for mulch - bark, compost, leaf mould... Mulching in late spring will keep keep weeds down and help soil to retain moisture. I mulch my veggies beds with compost and perennial & shrub beds with compost & shredded bark.

            1. re: toastnjam

              I plan to do more mulching this year, we have been using a mulching leaf blower that creates great mulch, and saving the mulch, we will be using this not only on our strawberries but other veg as well. It makes such a huge difference in the weeds, especially early on. We like to do succession planting, covering the areas not in use with newspaper and mulch really helps to keep the weeds down.

          3. We're in NJ. We keep the strawberry plants separated & and slightly elevated as they crawl/grow with strawhay between the beds. Picking the fresh berries, with 40 plants going at once, is a much easier task in our large garden.

            As for the tabacco tea. I have read pros and cons over the years regarding this remedy and have no problem with it at all. Upon further research you will see the diff btwn a tabacco tea within a soap solution and some of the concerns organic farmers have had with this method. I acknowledge not everyone is a fan of this remedy.