We were wandering around the Wal-Mart garden center, when Shay noticed some strawberry plants. There was no price, but we quickly found out (because we ACTUALLY found someone who WORKS there!!!) that they were only $1.18 each. So I started off with 10, and then came back to reality and bought 6.
Really, the only reason I went down to six was that I also had to buy hanging baskets for them. If not for that expense, I’d have taken ten. Or more.
Anyway, I noticed deep pink flowers on them, a color I’d never seen on strawberries. oooooooOOOOOOoooooooo. They didn’t say anything except “Tristan”, “everbearing”, and “8 hours full sun”. Hey, how bad could they be? They’re strawberries.
So I looked at the hanging pots, and there were some metal baskets with coir liners that looked really nice. And we’ve all heard how the coir is supposed to keep things moist, so here was my chance. There was no price, so I took along some inexpensive plastic pots as a hedge, since these things can be expensive. They turned out to be only $7 each, though, so I bought three.
I looked at the coir liner, though, before I started planting, and wondered if they would really hold soil if I could see daylight through them. So I poked around on the ‘net for some information.
Boy, was I glad I did! I didn’t really find anything about them having the soil wash out, but plenty about them drying out! Apparently, in hanging baskets, they really do not keep the moisture in. In fact, people who have them say that if you do not line them with plastic, the coir will actually draw moisture from the soil and dry the pot out faster — so fast, that you may have to water twice a day when it’s hot:
Now, inside an enclosed pot, or shredded and used like peat moss, it does help hold water in the soil. Just not as the pot itself.
So I pulled out a black trash bag (okay, I know about chemicals and all that, but…) and made liners for the coir. I punched several holes in the bottoms of each one, being careful to actually cut a little of the plastic off, not just poke holes, so the holes couldn’t close back up. Once I had some soil inside, I trimmed around the top, at or just below the level of the coir.
I planted them in the same Mel’s Mix used in the square foot garden, because it’s supposed to hold water really well, while allowing excess water to drain off. One of my composts had been used up, though, so I substituted the manure that our rabbits so eagerly produce. Rabbit manure is a “cold” manure, meaning it will not burn your plants with nutrients, so you can put it directly on your plants, rather than having to compost it first.
Once I had them planted, I thoroughly watered them. The excess water did drain out through the holes in the bottom, though it did take longer than I expected. But they finally did stop dripping. They were still nice and moist today (I planted them yesterday).
It wasn’t until after I had them planted that I finally looked the Tristan strawberries up. They are apparently a new variety from Holland:
I don’t know why the one place says “runnerless”… some of mine have runners. Maybe I bought rejects! The pictures are quite pretty, so we’ll see what happens.