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City-fied Self-Sufficiency

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Tristan Strawberries

We were wandering around the Wal-Mart garden center, when Shay noticed some strawberry plants.  There was no price, but we quickly found out (because we ACTUALLY found someone who WORKS there!!!) that they were only $1.18 each.  So I started off with 10, and then came back to reality and bought 6.

Really, the only reason I went down to six was that I also had to buy hanging baskets for them.  If not for that expense, I’d have taken ten.  Or more.

Anyway, I noticed deep pink flowers on them, a color I’d never seen on strawberries.  oooooooOOOOOOoooooooo.  :)  They didn’t say anything except “Tristan”, “everbearing”, and “8 hours full sun”.  Hey, how bad could they be?  They’re strawberries.

So I looked at the hanging pots, and there were some metal baskets with coir liners that looked really nice.  And we’ve all heard how the coir is supposed to keep things moist, so here was my chance.  There was no price, so I took along some inexpensive plastic pots as a hedge, since these things can be expensive.  They turned out to be only $7 each, though, so I bought three.

I looked at the coir liner, though, before I started planting, and wondered if they would really hold soil if I could see daylight through them.  So I poked around on the ‘net for some information.

Boy, was I glad I did!  I didn’t really find anything about them having the soil wash out, but plenty about them drying out!  Apparently, in hanging baskets, they really do not keep the moisture in.  In fact, people who have them say that if you do not line them with plastic, the coir will actually draw moisture from the soil and dry the pot out faster — so fast, that you may have to water twice a day when it’s hot:



Now, inside an enclosed pot, or shredded and used like peat moss, it does help hold water in the soil.  Just not as the pot itself.

So I pulled out a black trash bag (okay, I know about chemicals and all that, but…) and made liners for the coir.  I punched several holes in the bottoms of each one, being careful to actually cut a little of the plastic off, not just poke holes, so the holes couldn’t close back up.  Once I had some soil inside, I trimmed around the top, at or just below the level of the coir.

One of them I forgot to trim until the plants were in. Oops. You can see a little of one of the rosey flowers in there, too. You can also see a white flower in the plant at right. I'm guessing this is a function of the fact that it's a hybrid -- you know how sometimes a bush will have one bunch of flowers that's a different color from the rest of them.

I planted them in the same Mel’s Mix used in the square foot garden, because it’s supposed to hold water really well, while allowing excess water to drain off.  One of my composts had been used up, though, so I substituted the manure that our rabbits so eagerly produce.  Rabbit manure is a “cold” manure, meaning it will not burn your plants with nutrients, so you can put it directly on your plants, rather than having to compost it first.

Once I had them planted, I thoroughly watered them.  The excess water did drain out through the holes in the bottom, though it did take longer than I expected.  But they finally did stop dripping.  They were still nice and moist today (I planted them yesterday).

I hung them from temporary nails on the outside of the garden. Temporary, because eventually they will be hanging inside the garden, which will be enclosed with mesh. The birds and squirrels are unbelievable around here. I already put mesh on the strawberry pot on the right, because it has a ripening strawberry in it.

It wasn’t until after I had them planted that I finally looked the Tristan strawberries up.  They are apparently a new variety from Holland:



I don’t know why the one place says “runnerless”… some of mine have runners.  Maybe I bought rejects!  :D  The pictures are quite pretty, so we’ll see what happens.


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10 Responses to “Tristan Strawberries”

  1. ladysown says:

    hey those gardens r looking good

    • Miss M says:

      Thank you! :D It’s so exciting! Everything is coming up! I’ve got little plants everywhere!!!!

  2. Treadmill Traci says:

    Your garden looks great! I’ve had a problem with little critters getting into my little garden. Maybe I’ll try a fence like yours, it looks great! Congrats on your strawberries, and good luck :)

    • Miss M says:

      Thanks, Traci! The mesh works great! It didn’t keep out the little wrens, but they weren’t eating the tomatoes.

      The strawberries didn’t make it in those pots. The heat and strong sun was just too much in those small pots. I’ll try them again in a bed sometime. I love strawberries. :D

  3. ladysown says:

    a way to grow strawberries that you might consider… dirt, surrounded by straw bales. and each year just reverse which runners you keep. probably doesn’t make sense but these days I’m a basket case…..

    • Miss M says:

      Hmmm… is the purpose of the bales insulation, to keep the dirt from drying out? I don’t quite get what you mean about the runners… I know the basket case bit, boy, it’s been nuts around here, but do you have a link that explains it? :)

  4. Janis says:

    I bought some of these plants. Mine not only have red flowers but red stems as well. They are very pretty. As far as the coir pots, they need to be soaked until wet just like peat pots. Otherwise they wick the moisture from the soil. If you keep them wet, it keeps they plants and soil from drying out and they don’t drown, either.

    • Miss M says:

      Oh! Now it all makes sense! It’d be great if they had instructions with the pots that said that! My strawberries didn’t make it, so maybe I’ll take it all apart and try it all again… soaking the coir first this time! :)

      They were really, really pretty. Mine didn’t have red stems. That sure sounds nice!

      Thank you for the tip!

  5. James says:

    Well I’d love to plant and be able to grow them. You’re lucky to have bought them at such a cheap price. We have that $2.99 a piece in here.

    • Miss M says:

      If you can find ones with runners already on them, you can multiply your plants pretty quickly! Buy fewer, but still end up with all the plants you want. :)