The Q&A Archives: Strawberries In Garden Boxes

Question: I have a garden box with strawberries in it. Last year, I had some mold growing on the old leaves from the previous year. Since I cannot actually maneuver a lawn mower inside the box, what do I do about old leaves?

Answer: I gather you are talking about a rather large raised bed. You might be able to use (with some care) a weed whacker or an electric blade trimmer (often used for lawn edging) and then a leaf blower to try to remove as much of the old foliage as possible. Alternatively a metal rake and some elbow grease might do the trick, but I would not try this in late fall as you risk damaging the flower buds already forming for next spring's crop. Ideally you would be rejuvenating the plants during the late summer and the old leaves (and many of the old plants) would be removed for the most part then leaving far less old material in the beds over the winter. It is important, as you indicated, to clean out the beds as best you can so as to avoid carrying over problems from one year to the next. If you had a severe mold problem you might wish to consult with your County Extension (948-4862) about the best methods for raising strawberries in your area and for suggestions of varieties best suited to your local conditions -- and the most disease resistant.

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