Friday, October 9, 2015

Plant City Strawberries for the Florida Bee Farm

On our last trip to pickup the Blueberry plants we just so happened to be driving by the Parksdale Farm Market and Garden center in Plant City.  They are just outside the gates to Florida's Strawberry festival and are famous for their strawberry shortcake and strawberry products.  Also for a few days in October they carry the strawberry seedlings for sale.  They don't ship them and you sometimes have to reserve these in advance.   I called ahead to make sure they had enough and was able to procure 75 seedlings.  On our way home from the blueberry farm we stopped in to pick up the strawberry seedlings.
Playing tourist at Parksdale Farm Market in Plant City

Parksdale Farm Market is a pretty cool place with plenty of touristy stuff and produce so it was a nice diversion for our trip home.  They also sold the thin plastic cover that is helpful in planting the strawberry plants.  The prices were more than reasonable.  I'll be back every year if these strawberries take.
Preparing the raised beds mounding and making furrows

They also included directions with the strawberry seedlings detailing do's and don't s.  They recommended making rows mounded up and then covering with the plastic cover.  Fertilize between the furrows before covering with plastic.  Then you plant the seedlings being careful to not plant them too deep.  Make sure only the root areas go underground.  The directions said the biggest mistake people make is to plant the seedlings too deep.
Strawberry plants being carefully planted
The Lucky guy

And finally the last step was to customize the irrigation system to precisely deliver water to the roots of the strawberry plants.  To do this the existing irrigation hoses were removed and replaced with soaker hoses.  The strawberry plants were planted a little closer together than the recommendation because we were trying to maximize the space we had.  As it turned out 50 plants fit nicely into the above raised bed.  I'll try to plant another 20 or so into standalone pots for experimentation.  And if we're lucky we should be getting fresh strawberries from December until May. 

Strawberry irrigation system

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