Ask a Question forum: Strawberries need help

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Name: Terri Osipov
Rome, Georgia (Zone 7b)
Every day in the yard is a GOOD day
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IJsbrandtGA
Jun 19, 2016 6:32 AM CST
I have succeeded (finally) in growing over 100 strawberry plants (several different varieties) and they are very healthy plants, very productive and other thand! I few duds produce gorgeous, juicy berries...but all for naught. They are simply tasteless and soooo tart! I performed a soil test and not surprisingly, the soil is much too alkaline. I suspect this may be the cause? If so. Can I fertilize them with say Miracle Grow acid fertilizer to make them sweet? I have lots of natural compost in the bed and I have removed hundreds of runners. Help??
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 19, 2016 7:17 AM CST
Hmm, Terri I think if the soil alkalinity was the problem you'd be seeing more chlorosis on the leaves - yellow leaves with dark green veins.

Are the plants getting sunshine all day? What puts sugar into the berries is the healthy green leaves making lots of sugar from photosynthesis - converting the sun's energy. If they aren't getting enough sun they won't be sweet and flavorful. Can you cut back some overhanging branches around the strawberry patch? At least 6 hours of good sunlight is needed for sweet fruit.

So, by all means fertilize those plants (the acid fert will be fine) so that they will grow as many lush green leaves as possible before the next round of berries. I hope you planted an everbearing not June-bearing variety? If not, you'll have to wait until next year to continue your experimenting.

The other thing to try is to leave some a day or two longer on the plants to see if they sweeten up. Try one or two that are a darker red color. A berry won't become sweeter after it's picked, no matter how long you leave it on the windowsill. They need the leaves to make sugar for them.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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