I have built raised beds about 5 years ago and the are filled with compost from the city. I’d like to add some soil and amendments to help the strawberries grow. Are there any suggestions on what is beneficial, worm castings, pumice, etc?
I’ve grown strawberries for three seasons (Honeoye cultivar only) and haven’t done anything special. I’ve used a little humic acid and have incorporated some of my worm castings into the dirt. Not huge harvests but lots of runners – if you want bigger/more fruit I have heard you should prune the runners. One thing to maybe keep an eye on is pH (my soil sits around 5.5 or 6):
The ideal soil pH for strawberries is between 5.4 and 6.5
I have a 6” raised bed full of half-composted mulch, sand, and garden soil. Loads of berries if the deer don’t eat them down to the crowns.
I have read the plants themselves like sandy soil rich in organics that is relatively high in moisture content with the pH range mentioned above. The berries themselves don’t like the moisture because they tend to rot quickly.
If you have a source for river sand, try replacing the compost in one box as a trial with river sand plus about 50% garden soil plus compost, then replant the berries. River sand is the secret to growing strawberries. You will see the difference and why you should renovate the others next year
Ok @DennisD , I’ll try it. If I can’t source river sand, is masonry sand similar? Sounds like river sand would be course?
I am assuming the emphasis on river sand is that it is already rich in compost. So sand and compost mixed in should replicate it.
Honestly, I suspect any sand will do, I use river sand because it’s free here along our streams, but any sand will do to help breakup the clays and to keep the soil closer to a sandy loam mixture. Good drainage and some compost to enrich with sandy loam is ideal in a sunny location
i add floodplain river silt to my raised beds last spring and growth was crazy. got to be careful using too much here as its finer than sand and can hold onto water much more. 4/ 5 shovels full per bed is enough. i also dump in worm casting/ roach frass and it really darkens the soil. several shovels of chic manue compost if i notice the previous seasons leaves werent very green.
I am still in the trial and error learning of strawberry growing. I have found out that its more important what you keep out of your beds…than what you put in… everything wants the berries…
With that being said i grew fantastic plants and nice berries with a mix of biochar, manure, sand, and compost. And instead of straw i used leaves. I went on vacation and came back and the deer/squirrels/chipmunks/rabbits mowed everything to the ground.
Got to build a better strawberry prison.
Netting or electricity may be helpful!
To do list- Install 10 acre electric net.
I am defining insanity on some of my projects- do the same thing expecting different results.
I have been planting things to encourage wildlife and pollinators for years…then i get upset when they destroy my precious.
I always heard to use sharp sand in horticulture as it drains the best. Beach sand is rounded from the water. Ever see glass on the beach? Polished and rounded. I guess builders sand is Sharp. Beach sand still can work just fine but builders has better drainage.