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Strawberries grown in Gutter turning brown before maturity

Hello all, We started strawberries in gutters in September (we live in Florida) Starting late January we started getting a TON of berries (these are all heirloom small berry varieties and are everbearing). Then about late march something changed an nearly all the berries are now turning brown, hard and dying before they are ready to pick. some are doing this while they are still smaller than a pea.

Does anyone have any idea what is causing this and how to fix it?

I have experimented in different gutters adding egg shells, coffee grounds or both. None of this seams to change the outcome.



  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,536

    Hello. I have no experience of living in Florida so I don't know what your climate is like. And I have no experience of growing anything in a gutter other than grass and that gets raked out as soon as it is spotted. I don't really understand why people want to grow things in gutters (I take it your gutter is not still attached to your roof) unless they are lacking space in which to grow things more naturally.

    Here in UK the climate is temperate. In my area it rarely drops below 5°C for more than a few days in winter and rarely climbs to more than 24°C on summer days. We get some rain nearly every day. The ground is alkaline and drains rapidly.

    Strawberries, the wild kind, grow all around on old paths and in local woodland. I grow the cultivated ones in my garden and let them roam where they will. They roam.

    I can only suggest that your climate is perhaps too hot, too dry or too humid, based on my climate and how my strawberries and the wild ones here behave. Maybe life in the gutter is not what they want. Maybe they want to roam, unfettered,  to the furthest corners of the earth. Maybe their roots are too constricted or too hot or too dry or too wet. 

    Put them in the ground and see how they react.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,213

    I'd suggest they've used up all the available nutrition, and, as pansyface says, they grow best in  a temperate climate which is what we have here in Britain. They grow very well here in Scotland - we have a lot of rainfall and less sun than further south so are usually grown undercover by commercial growers, but are perfectly happy in domestic gardens as long as they don't get waterlogged. 

    I'd get them in the ground too, or if that's not an option, get them into some decent sized containers and give them enough water and nutrition to support  their growth image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Well Florida is the commercial strawberry capital or the world so the climate is near perfect for what they like. We have many commercial growers who grow them in gutters as well. Is there any certain nutriant you can think of that I might need to supplement?

  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,536

    Commercial growers get up to all sorts of things that the ordinary gardener is either unaware of or unable to replicate. Just look at all those battalions of pumped-up, technicloured primulas for sale each spring which, once taken home, revert to normal-sized and often quite differently coloured specimens.

    Here, thanks to EU rules, we are currently bemoaning the withdrawal from sale of Bordeaux mixture, We, the gardeners of Britain (some of whom have decades of experience) are deemed too stupid to be allowed to handle Bordeaux mixture without coming to a sticky end. Commercial growers can still obtain it and use it even though they may have fewer years' experience and possibly less common sense than we hoi polloi.

    Nitrogen, Potassium and phosphorus, sunlight and water do my plants proud. I don't suffer from any pathogens such as mildew or grubs. Could you have a pest specific to Florida that we don't know about?

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
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