This summer I received 2500 bare root strawberry starts. With that, one must ask themselves what to do with that amount of starts and how to approach what to do with them all. These starts in particular come from a commercial variety called ‘Tribute’. This variety is particularly desirable because of the large yields of sweet delicious berries and are hardy enough to survive cold wet winters. This hybrid strawberry was developed by the University of Maryland for large crops with good disease tolerance.
I began by pulling all the starts out of their carrier box and placing them in a plastic kiddy pool. After all starts are placed and spaced accordingly i added a light fertilizer and a shot of humic acid to the water to be added. I filled the water 4 inches roughly and maintained that level in the following weeks. With filtered sun light, the seemingly dead starts began to develop leaves and new root growth.
After the plants begin to show signs of growth they can be added to pots, containers, or directly into its permanent home in the ground. I’ve found i can hold starts in the kiddy pool for up to a month and a half. After that the roots began to decay.
The overall success rate of the strawberries was well over 90%. I was able to fill many raised beds and containers with these starts. They went to flower in a matter of weeks and fruited shortly after. All the while sending out vines to create more plants. Added homemade compost tea to the starts. The starts grew with vigor and flourished. These strawberries are very sweet and juicy so long as soil moisture levels were maintained. In the past I’ve started larger perennials such as rhododendrons and maples with success in a pond or pool environment. This method proves to be beneficial with the price of bare root plants being far cheaper and easier to ship than a full plant.