|I planted strawberries for the first time this year. I fertilized and watered them regularly, and out of 25 plants I've only seen one bloom! They were planted in mid-April and I mulched them with shavings left over after we had an evergreen tree stump removed. Each plant has about 3 stems with one leaf on the end, and they don't appear to be growing much. What am I doing wrong?
|Spring bearing strawberries set their blooms during the fall for the following spring crop. There are several possible explanations for why you have seen no blooms. Many gardeners remove the blooms prior to planting in order to allow the plants a year to direct their energy to settling in and becoming established before they are encouraged to set fruit, so in some cases the blooms are removed as part of the digging process. On any variety of strawberry, a freeze can damage the earlier buds or blooms and transplant stress or drought stress may cause the blooms to abort or fail to form.
The plants should be well established by now; generally they need a very rich, evenly moist yet well drained soil and a location in full sun. Besides the possibility that hot dry weather has slowed them down, it is also possible that the fresh wood mulch temporarily robbed the soil of nitrogen (it is a good idea to let fresh shavings sit for about a year prior to use on the garden). In order to know if there is a soil deficiency it would be a good idea to run some basic soil tests and then add amendments according to the results.
In addition to checking the fertility level, do be sure your plants are receiving enough water.