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We bought 2 varieties of strawberries: Everbearing and June bearing.

The pictures below show the ones that were produced by the two ever bearing plants.

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As you can see the fruits are not getting big and they look as if they are dry. I mixed steer manure with top soil before planting them in the planter boxes. The June bearing plant is producing (though not a lot) decently sized fruits.

My neighbor looked at these plants and suggested to use fish fertilizer as he thought it could be that the soil is lacking some nutrition.

So can anyone tell me why these strawberries look this?

EDIT: Here's the picture of the strawberry planter box: enter image description here

  • Several of us thought you had failed to give them enough water in your prior question gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/26636/… – Graham Chiu Jul 1 '16 at 8:43
  • Possibly inconsistent watering. Plants that produce fruit (even "fruiting" vegetables) need consistent watering. – Bulrush Jul 1 '16 at 10:47
  • Yes, I'm going with not enough water too – kevinsky Jul 1 '16 at 17:57
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    Like I mentioned, 2 of the plants in the same planter box are doing well while the 2 others are not. So, I'm not sure about the watering theory. Moreover in the pacific NW (where I live now) it rains quite regularly and we water the plants once in 2 days if it doesn't rain. Esp the strawberries, we water it nicely and let it dry and then water it nicely. – yasouser Jul 5 '16 at 16:03
  • Looks to me like you are doing just fine with water. Just because the top of the soil is dry does not mean there is too little water available. Especially with such a huge 'pot'. They are showing no stress at all. Totally too much nitrogen. Doesn't take a high percentage to do this, fertilizing with low percentages TOO OFTEN will still cause dark dark green leaves and screwed up buds, fruit. I would bring this planter into the garage, a little water now and then. In the spring harden it off to its normal place in the sun. – stormy Aug 23 '16 at 2:38
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I am pretty sure that the steer manure was your first mistake. I hope it was decomposed but steer manure is just nitrogen and organic matter. Nitrogen is great for vegetative growth, not reproductive. Reproductive growth would be the buds, flowers and berries which to me look more...confused than dried up. Look at those leaves, if there was too little water you'd see the leaves reacting as well. In fact, those leaves are showing me that there has been too much nitrogen, they are TOO dark green!

I'd mulch those berries with some non-decomposed straw, wood chips to divert some of the nitrogen to decomposition work. If you haven't used any other fertilizers I'd find some light fertilizer with no nitrogen and just Phosphorus and Potassium. I'd wait before using any fertilizer for a month.

Pick off ALL of the flowers and berries. Then the excess nitrogen will be used to make bigger, lusher vegetative strawberres plants. Those flowers and berries are just using up the nitrogen and energy from the plant. When the excess nitrogen is reduced they'll set new crops of strawberries and hopefully you'll get good berries by the end of summer. June bearing not so much but your everbearing should go nuts.

If I could see your entire bed and its surroundings I could also tell you if you should FLUSH your soil before mulching. Depends on the type of soil and your drainage (slopes, trenches, raised bed styles) and that would help get rid of some of the nitrogen. However the non decomposed mulch will bring in the decomposer teams who will need that nitrogen big time. The mulch will also help with botrytis or gray mold by keeping the berries off the soil. And too much water will cause other problems.

Next year don't use any manure in your gardens for vegeys except perhaps for salad crops. And check to see the source of any manure you decide to use in the garden. You don't want to 'fertilize' crops for eating with heavy metals, innoculation chemicals or poo from animals forced to eat GMO crops. Ugh.

  • These strawberry plants are in a planter box that is 2.5' (L) x 2.5' (W) x 11" (H). – yasouser Jul 6 '16 at 1:57
  • Is this box built on the soil or is it on a patio? What is the type of wood or blocks used to build this box? Send a picture of your 'ecosystem'...how old are these strawberries...are these new plants this season? What did you grow in that soil last year? ...a bit more detail no matter how small will ensure our answer will be the right one. Are these brand new beds with soil that was there and then you added approximately how much manure? Drainage? Fabric? Rocks? Any other chemicals? Water schedule, neighboring plants? I can think of a few other answers here...pictures! Thanks. – stormy Jul 6 '16 at 4:26
  • Added the picture of the planter box. The box is made of fencing cedar wood except for the legs which is made from stud wood bars that's available from Home Depot. The bottom has ~10-12 holes (~7mm dia) to drain excess water. You can see the landscaping fiber lining. The soil in the box is top soil that I bought from Lowes. – yasouser Jul 6 '16 at 21:55
  • yasouser...your planter box looks very well thought out and made...is the landscape fabric to protect the wood from water, moisture? You've not said what you have used for fertililzer. Don't use manure for any planter. Too difficult to know the percentage of N to the P and K. You want LOW N in proportion to the P and K. Otherwise, too much N for strawberries. Is this planter full of potting soil, or garden soil? Are there any rocks, gravel at the bottom below the soil (I hope not). What is your watering philosophy? Fertilizer? – stormy Aug 8 '16 at 21:03
  • Thanks for the comment about the planter box :) Regarding: "is the landscape fabric to protect the wood from water, moisture?" -- Yes. That's what I had in mind when I did it. "Is this planter full of potting soil, or garden soil?" -- I used the top soil from Lowe's. "Are there any rocks, gravel at the bottom below the soil (I hope not)" -- No rocks or gravel at the bottom. "What is your watering philosophy? Fertilizer?" -- Watering is mild. Hot/dry days we water daily. But its cool or if it rained a bit, then it's once in 2-3 days depending on the moisture on the soil. – yasouser Aug 23 '16 at 1:40
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For my strawberries, I generally use a combination of steer manure and chicken manure. The ratio I use that has worked for me is 3 parts steer manure and 1 part chicken manure. I mix these with the soil before I plant my strawberries. I also use fish emulsion when the plants start bearing flowers and fruit. I also get rid of the strawberry plants after about 3 years since my experience is they tend to not be as productive as they used to be when you first plant them.

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