Thursday, November 7, 2013

Food Fight! My Battle With Strawberry Pests.

My last post spoke of my battle with the shade. One of the survivors was my strawberries - apparently thriving and producing flowers and even fruit. I planted 22 plants one year ago, and I now have 140 (and I've given away a bunch). After one year, the time has arrived to finally start harvesting my produce. Having neglected my plants for about three days, with promising white to pink strawberries festooning the ground, I returned with great hope that I would find a bunch intact. I had even taken the precaution of placing the best of the strawberries on lids within bigger lids such that they were surrounded by a moat of water.

I leave you to judge the result!
Todays strawberry harvest. Yum!The 

Of my 21 ripe strawberries (I cast two into the road with snails attached), not one has survived intact. Every strawberry is either small, malformed (water or nutrient deficiency?), or rotten, or eaten by a combination of birds, snails, slugs, weevils, wood louse and millipedes. Until I started my own veggie garden, I did not even realize that wood louse and millipedes could be considered a pest. I thought they hung around mainly underground! Even my Solar Strawbs - an elevated pipe bearing strawberry plants, had one fruit that was not sufficiently hanging off the side entirely devoured by birds, and another with a millipede still chomping on it. Several entire plants have been ripped up by our friendly foraging dogs. Well, they have just been demoted to my second-best friend!

Woodlouse on a fresh organic home-grown strawberry

What is to be done about it, if The Naked Botanist cannot even grow his own strawberries in a wonderful organic setting which has never seen a pesticide in its life? I am certainly starting to have sympathy for non-organic farmers who utilize pesticide. Fortunately I am not surviving off my produce, nor making a living off them... but if I were?? Any recommendations?

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