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  1. #1
    veg4681's Avatar
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    Default Soil Mix for Strawberry in containers

    Has anybody got a recommendation for a good soil mix for growing strawberry in containers (mostly window boxes, maybe a hanging basket, individual pots)?

    I've checked out the internet but only confused by how differently people do their soil mixing/preparation . Ideally I would prefer not to buy into those branded John Innes compost etc.

    I have plenty of ready/usable homemade compost that has been mixed in with good quality garden soil. For fertilisers, I have some Growmore, Sulphate of ammonia (also Sulphate of potash for later during flowering/fruiting), Bonemeal, Granules of white something but no blood, fish & bone and well rotted animal manure yet although I can get fresh ones which I gather shouldn't be used fresh (certainly not for immediately planting).

    I have 6 strawberry runners (Cambridge favourite) from Woolies, guess it's okay to plant them out now but will need more soil for strawberry raised from seeds.
    Last edited by veg4681; 14-01-2008 at 03:46 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Anybody also planting runners?
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  3. #3
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    Not sure what's best for your runners, Veg, but as the John Innes composts are 'recipes' rather than brands, I'm sure that if you know what type you're after, you can make your own - I think that Snadge is your grape for further info here...?
    Last edited by Hazel at the Hill; 15-01-2008 at 12:22 AM.
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  4. #4
    GeordieGem is offline Germinator
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    so here is my first reply on the grapevine:

    I started with 3 strawberry plants when I was 8 and have now got around 25 which have been grown from the next years runners.

    I never got much of a crop off my strawbs but this year I was inundated. I moved house and the garden is clay with a very high water table, and was flooded so I had to transfer them to grow bags and containers. For containers I mixed farmyard manure (bagged from the garden centre) with John Innes no 3. These did resonably well and fruited for months producing a good quantity of fruit.

    I grew 3 plants in a grow bag from Asda and these did OK, but the best results I got were from the plants I put into grow bags for tomatoes (the exact bag is covered in red tomatoes - dont know the brand). I think it was probably to do with the high mix of nutrients for tomatoes but these plants produced by far the best and largest amount of fruit.

    The only possible downside is that they did put on a lot of leaf growth, but as my plants were a bit distressed from the move I didnt mind and I plan to replant them in a raised bed this year - just not sure when is the right time - any advice?

    In my opinion just mix your own some good manure/garden compost and nice soil will do the trick.

    Gemma

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    veg4681's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeordieGem View Post
    so here is my first reply on the grapevine:

    I started with 3 strawberry plants when I was 8 and have now got around 25 which have been grown from the next years runners.

    For containers I mixed farmyard manure (bagged from the garden centre) with John Innes no 3. These did resonably well and fruited for months producing a good quantity of fruit.

    I grew 3 plants in a grow bag from Asda and these did OK, but the best results I got were from the plants I put into grow bags for tomatoes (the exact bag is covered in red tomatoes - dont know the brand). I think it was probably to do with the high mix of nutrients for tomatoes but these plants produced by far the best and largest amount of fruit.

    In my opinion just mix your own some good manure/garden compost and nice soil will do the trick.

    Gemma
    Welcome to the Vine Gemma! Sorry are you under 13 years old as you said you grew strawberry from age 8 and have expanded your strawberry to 25 from just 3?

    That's a splendid account of your growing experience using different soil mix. I will check out John Innes and also the growbag specifically for tomato (think I know what you mean, seen them before).
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  6. #6
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    the compost mix i use for all my strawbs in containers is not terribly scientific but is roughly as follows:

    Compost (any general purpose type but must be free draining)
    horticultural grit (or coarse sand if you can't get grit)
    perlite

    roughly half compost, quarter each grit and perlite, add more or less compost until it looks the right consistency (free draining but plenty of organic matter)

    I add growmore fertiliser as a top dressing in the spring, and liquid feed with high potash feed during flowering and fruiting. KenMuir sells a specific strawberry feed and goes on about sulphate of this and that - i've never bothered though and my strawberries have always fruited well.

    Hope this helps
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  7. #7
    veg4681's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Protea View Post
    the compost mix i use for all my strawbs in containers is not terribly scientific but is roughly as follows:

    Compost (any general purpose type but must be free draining)
    horticultural grit (or coarse sand if you can't get grit)
    perlite

    roughly half compost, quarter each grit and perlite, add more or less compost until it looks the right consistency (free draining but plenty of organic matter)

    I add growmore fertiliser as a top dressing in the spring, and liquid feed with high potash feed during flowering and fruiting. KenMuir sells a specific strawberry feed and goes on about sulphate of this and that - i've never bothered though and my strawberries have always fruited well.

    Hope this helps
    I think I understand your soil mix that tries to be free draining (via grit or sand) yet moisture retentive (via Perlite). Can you substitute Perlite with Vermiculite which I already have.

    I also fear that too rich soil might make it too heavy and waterlogged for the strawberry...if I know what I'm talking about . Instead of using rich soil from planting, I prefer the option of feeding fertiliser as top dressing as you need it.

    Found the useful website for John Innes compost mix recipes (although the mention of hoof and horn meal threw me off completely ).

    John Innes Composts explained
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  8. #8
    GeordieGem is offline Germinator
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    Hi Veg 4681,

    I am actually 23, but for a few years I didnt bother with the runners and just chopped them off, so I didnt expand beyond about 6 strawb plants for years, but as you grow older and suposedly become wiser and actually read something on the plants you realise they are only good for about 2 - 3 years and you need new ones.

    Therin begins the chapter when I started paying more attention to what the plants were doing and realised why buy more plants when you get new ones for free every season.

    Have fun experimenting with the soil mixtures, there have been some good suggestions.

    Gemma

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