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Apr 2, 2018 9:24 AM CST
Thread OP
Name: Eric
Milton, NH (Zone 5a)
It is snowing as I type this, but this past weekend of 50 degree weather made me want to get the garden ready NOW. I realize that it is too early for many of my plants, but perhaps not too soon for others.

This year I'm going to try strawberries. I've already done substantial research on the kind of soil and conditions that will work best, but I am really wondering when is the best time, in Northern New England, to plant strawberries. Some sources say as soon as the soil can be worked. Well, it can be worked right now, I just can't picture strawberry plants growing in the chill and frosts of early April.

The other is sweet potatoes. I've successfully grown different varieties of regular potatoes, but are sweet potatoes remarkably different in how to plant, care and harvest? Thank You!
Apr 2, 2018 10:25 AM CST
Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level
Sweet potatoes are markably different only in the fact that it is a hot weather crop as opposed to Irish potatoes which are a cool weather crop. ( They are tropical vines grown as an annual in temperate climates) While there are reports of success as far north as Canada, Growing sweet potatoes does get more difficult in northern climates. Other than heat and a relatively long growing season, sweet potatoes are not very demanding They do need loose soil and usually grown on lists to avoid soil compaction. Normally grown from slips (sprouts from the roots) which are transplanted in warm weather. You need a short season variety.
Apr 8, 2018 2:06 PM CST
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
I agree with farmerdill, with a few other things to add.

Sweet potatoes, also differ, from, other potatoes, in that when potatoes are ripe, plant doesn't die.

Also, sweet taters grow below seed point, instead of above seed point.

This year, you probably don't have time to grow slips inside. So, I'd order some slips. Seed companies ship them when ready to plant.

I recommend growing them vertically, to save space.

Strawberries. As you read. Farmers hear, plant them in fall for early spring harvest. Our winters ? no freezing ground, but low temps, are sometimes down to 18 F.

There you go Eric 👍😀
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Apr 8, 2018 5:50 PM CST
Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level
Strawberries are a bit different from vegetable gardening. They are a perennial plant that goes dormant in cold weather. So you need to plan for a fairly long term plot. Where possible fall planting is recommended. You normally buy plants in the dormant stage so they can set as soon as the planting bed is in good shape. When planting in spring it is recommended that blossoms be removed the first year to allow the plants to adapt. With fall planting you can get a small crop the first year. Weeding and thinning are the major work in maintaining a strawberry patch. Natural or plastic mulch helps alleviate this problem.
Apr 8, 2018 6:13 PM CST
Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
Birds Region: Canadian Clematis Lilies Peonies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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Eric, can't help you with the sweet potatoes but Philip gave great advice. May be able to help you with strawberries. Our Zones are equivalent, and I've grown strawberries for as long as I can remember, NOT THAT THAT MAKES ME AN EXPERT - I could be doing the same thing incorrectly, for all those years. However, first I suggest you pick out what variety you want to grow. You probably have researched this already. Basically, you have two choices, once fruiting, (early-mid-or late) or everbearing, (all season fruiting.) Either type, plant as soon as the ground can be worked, (Note: a lot of lattitude in "as soon as the ground can be worked" , but wait until the soil warms up a little in the Spring, where we are and the only time we can buy plants anyway). I prefer, the everbearing, offered here are: "Albion" or "Seascape". In the US, you have additional choices. Both of these offer huge, conical berries. In Nova Scotia, there are numerous u-pick strawberry farms, but I noticed in the last two or three years, a bunch of these farms have switched to "everbearing" or a combination of "early" and "everbearing" to drastically extend their season. Purely personal taste. I'm certain you have already read up on growing strawberries, i.e. not burying the crown, planting so that the roots spread out below the crown in a conical shape, picking off the first flowers (I seldom do that, but that is the suggested way), limiting the off runners or "sisters", fertilizing, and watering frequently, weeding, mulching with straw if available, etc. Not rocket science! If I can do it, it must be fairly easy. LOL. There are predators!! Chipmunks, Pheasants, and slugs.
All strawberry plant here are sold in groups of 25 as a rule, straight out of a cold refrigerator, bare root. Go for it! Cheers!
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