Strawberry questions

We bought some killer one gallon strawberry plants the other day. They all have strawberries on them, some ripe.
I want to grow a bunch of them. I have four 8' railroad ties. OLD railroad ties that are bleached white, so most of the chemicals should be gone.
Would an 8' bed raised that high (about 8") be a good bed? We got 10 yards of good compost from a nursery, and it is very high quality.
Should I mix anything else with the compost? The local dirt is sand dune blowsand. Should I mix any gravel in for drainage?
I want to put the black half inch pipe in there for irrigation. A friend who has a lot of strawberries says that they like a lot of water here. It gets blazing hot in the summer, and pretty cold in the winter. How wet should I keep them?
I like using different meals, blood, bone, etc, instead of chemical fertilizers. What would be a good amendment?
Lastly, propagation. Do you just plant them and let them grow? How far would I separate the plants?
Thanks in advance. Hope this year's garden is better than last year's.
Steve XXtreme SW Utah 3700' elev zone 7-8
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Steve B wrote:

8" would be good for strawberries their roots are not very deep. An 8' square bed will have one big problem, that is you cannot get to the middle without walking on it. Two 4' X 8' would be much better if you can get more timber. Or just start with one bed, 4' X 8' is quite a lot of strawberries.

I would try to build soil by amalgamating what ever you have with compost and other additions depending on the situation.

They will wilt if too dry. Check the soil for moisture when it is hot or windy and water before they wilt.

It depends on what is in your compost and the pH of it and the natural soil. You are aiming to correct deficiencies not to overdo it. You are likely to need more manures or blood and bone etc in subsequent years after some of the nutrients in your compost are used up.

They will spread quite quickly in good conditions. You can expect each plant to have some pups by the end of the first growing season. You can plant these out if you want to speed things up for the next year.
How

Broadly speaking about 30-45cm (12-18in) apart. It depends on how much you want to spend on stock and how long you are prepared to wait for the bed to fill. To be economical spread them out, to be quick buy more and put them closer.
David
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snipppp
Thanks. That was a lot of good information. I would have made the bed too wide.
Steve
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David Hare-Scott wrote:

You missed talking about sun, probably because the OP has plenty of sun (and didn't ask), I don't.
I have a single strawberry planted in the fall last year that has set out several pups. I have little open area and it's a trade off for me what to plant where. The strawberries are growing into the shaded area, perhaps 4 or 5 hours of full sun. Are strawberries more tolerant of shade than say cucurbits or tomatoes? My current thinking, whether it is right I don't know, is to plant the greens (kale and swiss chard) in the less sunny garden edges, the strawberries are there also.
Jeff
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I'd guess strawberries need lots of sun and not too much water for big sweet luscious berries. Around here full sun is the order of the day. I can't grow them but there are some pick your own places about. Favorite was Pulios in Clayton now gone. <http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=shade+tolerant+veget ables&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8>
Good luck!
--
Bill Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA


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Bill who putters wrote:

Googling that gave me this list culled from this group!
http://www.rickharrison.com/texts/info/shade_tolerant.html
I was surprised to find these listed:
* blackberry * currants * gooseberry * strawberries ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
I'd really like to have some gooseberries. Any suggestions anyone? I know I'll have to mail order them as I've never seen them here.
A lot of Gooseberry info out of the UK. Never thought of it as a potted plant.
Jeff

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Jeff Thies wrote:

The list is "shade tolerant" that doesn't mean they will do well.. As it says few edibles (to my thinking this means especially fruits) grow well in full shade. So depending on how much sun the spot actually gets you might harvest some berries. If some is better than none and you really have no choice then go for it. If you want to get the best return on the area used and your efforts cultivating them put them in full sun.
David
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David, Jeff has already said that he doesn't have much sun, encourage him to grow his strawberries, even without full sun, he can expect some strawberries. Jeff would love to have more sun, but he is doing the best he can with what he's got, like the rest of us, and just like 3,000 small farmers in Louisiana did when they formed a combination local union and cooperative to market the early crop of strawberries back in 1952. These little farmers, many of them Italian-Americans, had an average of three acres of strawberries in cultivation. For two years the cooperative unions' orderly marketing of strawberries brought better prices to the growers, with no increase cost to the consumer In the political campaign the strawberry farmers mobilized and voted for Adlai Stevenson. As soon as the Eisenhower administration started, trouble began for the Louisiana strawberry farmers, even thought they had no guns (not rifles or shot guns), warships, or rockets. The new administration's first successful prosecution under the Sherman Anti-Trust law was directed against the 3,000 little strawberry farmers. Shirley, you don't want to be like the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, who was officially designated as the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), serving in a dual role until the end of hostilities in Europe in May 1945. In these positions he was charged with planning and carrying out the Allied assault on the coast of Normandy in June 1944 under the code name Operation Overlord, the liberation of western Europe and the invasion of Germany, and the crushing of small strawberry farmers, who may or may not had sufficient sunshine.
--
- Billy
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Thank you for bringing that up. They would be shaded by a large apple tree for about half the day, but our summers here are brutal bright sunshine, so they would have a lot of reflected light, and 5-6 hours direct. Enough? Too much?
Steve http://cabgbypasssurgery.com soon to be a book
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Steve B wrote:

Well, there is only one way to really find out!
Strawberries appear to be more tolerant of less light than other fruiting plants. They have a denser leaf canopy which I believe helps. A little more shade might help with your water requirements.
I have a friend who got her back yard cleared out (it was very overgrown) and had a garden put in. I went to look at this just a day ago and found that the peachtrees had been planted under another tree, they will have to grow into the tree. The garden itself is between two trees, and will get a couple hours of full sun in the middle of the day.
Now, it looks to me that when all this was done that they had considered many factors but not how much sun!
As Billy has pointed out, you have to work with what you have, but you should try to make the best use of it.
Jeff

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What makes you think bleaching will make a difference with creosote?
As an alternative to simply tossing them in landfills, old railroad ties are commonly used around the home as landscaping barriers and retaining walls. However, the chemical often used to preserve the wood, coal tar creosote, can present some problems. This form of creosote, a mixture of chemicals created by distilling coal tar, is toxic in large amounts or after extended exposure. It is listed as a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is linked to skin and respiratory disorders. The European Union recently banned creosote. Coal tar creosote can also negatively affect the environment. According to the Creosote Coal Tar Cancer Lawsuits website, the chemical may reach the soil as a result of leaking or seeping from treated timber. Some creosote components may leach into groundwater and, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), may take years to break down. Vice President Colin McCown of the American Wood-Preservers Association argues that tests on household plants growing next to old crossties found no creosote residue. It really is fairly safe, he says. But ATSDRs Petro Kacur disagrees. We dont recommend that any chemically treated posts or ties be used in household gardens, he says. Home and Garden Television recommends using creosote-treated wood only for retaining walls. Some faux railroad ties are now available from big box retailers, but they are typically treated with arsenic, which may also worry conscious consumers. CONTACT ATSDR Tel: (404) 498-0110 Creosote Coal Tar Cancer Lawsuits Tel: (800) 632-8400 Kerri Linden
You just fixed one problem, why start another?
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My bet is on "lucky."
...That you may be lucky in no way makes the product safe, or safe for home use.
And having done further research I now know that chronic exposure can induce nephrotoxicity, renal toxicity and neurotoxicity...
http://jmedicalcasereports.com/content/1/1/102
Which is an inhalant abuse case, and at least cautionary.
http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/factsheets/chemicals/creosote_prelim_risk_as sess.htm
With special attention paid to:
"6. Are railroad ties safe for me to use for landscaping around my home?
There are no approved uses of creosote to treat wood for residential use. The Agency is aware that creosote-treated railroad ties are being used in the residential setting for landscape purposes and, in some instances, as a border around gardens. Such uses in residential settings are not intended uses of creosote and have not been considered in the preliminary risk assessment. If you do have creosote-treated wood in your yard, you are reminded to consult the handling precautions outlined above in this document."
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?ide&tid 
With special attention to the pargraph:
"If you are exposed to wood creosote, coal tar creosote, coal tar, coal tar pitch, or coal tar pitch volatiles, many factors determine whether you'll be harmed. These factors include the dose (how much), the duration (how long), and how you come in contact with them. You must also consider the other chemicals you're exposed to and your age, sex, diet, family traits, lifestyle, and state of health."
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says...

I don't want to eat the stuff, or make a house out of it, or use it to sleep on.
Steve
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Steve B[_6_];885026']"phorbin" snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in message
says...
- I have used creosote on and off all of my life, and have reached 69 willout any ill effect. so either I have been very lucky or it is not as bad as we are led to believe.-
My bet is on "lucky."
..That you may be lucky in no way makes the product safe, or safe for home use.
And having done further research I now know that chronic exposure can induce nephrotoxicity, renal toxicity and neurotoxicity...
'Journal of Medical Case Reports | Full text | Coal tar creosote abuse by vapour inhalation presenting with renal impairment and neurotoxicity: a case report' (http://tinyurl.com/2ut4ayk )
Which is an inhalant abuse case, and at least cautionary.
http://tinyurl.com/3xxszey sess.htm
With special attention paid to:
"6. Are railroad ties safe for me to use for landscaping around my home?
There are no approved uses of creosote to treat wood for residential use. The Agency is aware that creosote-treated railroad ties are being used in the residential setting for landscape purposes and, in some instances, as a border around gardens. Such uses in residential settings
are not intended uses of creosote and have not been considered in the preliminary risk assessment. If you do have creosote-treated wood in your yard, you are reminded to consult the handling precautions outlined
above in this document."
'ATSDR - ToxFAQs?: Creosote' (http://tinyurl.com/385lns8 )
With special attention to the pargraph:
"If you are exposed to wood creosote, coal tar creosote, coal tar, coal
tar pitch, or coal tar pitch volatiles, many factors determine whether you'll be harmed. These factors include the dose (how much), the duration (how long), and how you come in contact with them. You must also consider the other chemicals you're exposed to and your age, sex, diet, family traits, lifestyle, and state of health."-
I don't want to eat the stuff, or make a house out of it, or use it to sleep
on.
Steve
just a thought--white foam board (available at craft stores) or anything that u can add in like a white painted wall might help to reflect the light for your strawberries.
good luck. cyaaaaaaaa, sockiescat:).
--
sockiescat


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says...

Where we are, the wind is brutal at times, and at my age, I always forget and leave wind vulnerable things out. Next thing you know, the wind whips up in ten minutes, and there's a disaster. I just lost a new EZ Up sun shade. Mangled.
I buy 6' x 7' panels that are cutouts of the metal ocean going shipping containers, which I am going to make the north fence of my garden out of. This should give me a decent windbreak, and allow for the sun to still shine in. I may use some smaller pieces around raised boxes, but they are a lot of work to cut, and then to build a substantial base ........... But I was wanting to make some raised beds out of cinderblock stacked up and cemented solid floor, then a couple of courses to give 8-16" soil depth.
I have an ad on craigslist and freecycle right now for some. Some one will call in with a crumbload of it soon.
Man, these little bitty plants take a LOT of work!
Steve
http://cabgbypasssurgery.com book coming soon
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says...

We each have our own sense of what's safe and what's not.
To me, putting the ties in proximity with food plant roots will eventually feed creosote to those plants because the creosote doesn't go away as long as there is solid wood to hold it.
You may remain unconvinced which is your business. OTOH, I've convinced myself that even though they're not near our vegetable garden, I need to replace the ties around here with something less toxic and maybe even more stable.
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@yahoo.com says...

and I meant to add, "and a medium to conduct it."

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snipped-for-privacy@dishynail.net says...

Steve,
When we moved here there were a number of partly rotted out RR ties.
When I cut them down to use the remaining solid pieces to shore up an eroding part of the hill, every solid section was full of creosote.
YMMV but my experience says that this stuff doesn't evaporate out.
I used them but they are 20 to 30 feet away from anything edible.
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On Thu, 22 Apr 2010 20:53:46 -0700, "Steve B"

The best bet is to check with your county extension agent. They should have the best information for your immediate area. Unless someone who posts here lives very near you and has grown what you are asking about, the answers you get here are mostly guesses.
Here is a link to finding the one closest to you. http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/index.html
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