Let me first start out by saying that this weekend flew by! I’m sure everyone feels that way most weekends, right? I had every intention of starting my spring garden yesterday but only got so far as buying supplies at the nursery. So I was eager to get some planting started today. Of course, I was late getting home and could only get the strawberries potted before the sun set. Isn’t that always the way? I also got a tomato transplant, several varieties of heirloom tomato seeds, sweet basil, california wonder peppers, thyme, purple basil seed, bok choy, cilantro, chives, spinach and lettuce (all organic). I fully intend to get some seeds in Jiffy Pots before the weekend – wish me luck!
I’ve never tried strawberries before and I got two varieties to attempt : Ozark Beauty and Sequioa, both ever-bearing varieties. Because there are 10 shoots to a pack, I planted three each in medium planters and two each in individual medium Jiffy Pots. I plan to keep the potted strawberries in planters all season and plant the peat pots in the garden when the danger of frost has passed, which in Phoenix happens at the end of February. I’ve learned the trick to keeping potted plants moist in the desert is to use a heavier hand with the pumice in the bottom third of the pot and gradually use less as I fill to the top. So, for the bottom third of the pot, I add a mix of half pumice to half enriched soil. For the second third, it’s a third pumice to two thirds soil and for the top half I add very little of the pumice to the soil. The higher concentration of pumice at the bottom of the pot keeps the roots of the plant moist longer, which is necessary in such dry, hot conditions. I noticed a marked difference once I started using this method in how much slower my potted plants dried out and saw that the plants thrived better and looked healthier than those in pots without pumice.
Here is a picture of my newly potted strawberry plants:
Because some of the shoots looked a little sad, I put them closer together than I normally would so that I can pick the sickly ones out and keep the best from of each pot once I see what they’ve got. Again, this is my first go at strawberries, so maybe someone else would have done it differently. Have you planted them before? Any tips? Please share!