Growing plants outside their native areas

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I grew up in Iowa, and we always had strawberries growing everywhere. However I now live in Colorado, where we have sandy, dry soil... less than ideal for growing big juicy berries!

Since most of us probably live in areas that are not ideally suited for growing the crops we want, I thought it might be fun to start a thread for sharing tips on getting plants to grow well in bad areas without a lot of work. I love the idea of using other plants to modify the local climate and create the conditions we are looking for. It's semi-natural and makes for a lot less effort.

In the past few years I have had a small yard pond, and been growing many different types of plants to see what would work. Quite by accident, I discovered that by growing strawberries together with moneywort (or creeping jenny), my berries are suddenly doing great... Moneywort is a low-lying ground cover that spreads like crazy and holds moisture in the soil. Even in the dead of Summer, if you pull up a handful of moneywort, the ground underneath will be wet. My strawberries seem to thrive in these conditions, and since both plants grow at the same speed, the berries are able to keep on top and also get the amount of sunlight they desire. It's taken about 3 years, but last Summer I got my first crop of fat juicy strawberries! From a starter pack of 15 roots, my strawberries now cover a patch of ground about 20 feet long.
 

Jed

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Very much companion planting. :) Serendipitously you found something that worked.
I googled up money-wort and found that it contains phenolic acid. Maybe besides retaining moisture the strawberries like being close by as they prefer an acid soil.:)
 
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Hmm that might explain why the moneywort grows so well here... I have huge pine trees in my yard and the neighbor's. There's a constant bed of pine needles on the ground, the my soil in general is pretty acidic. I had no idea strawberries liked an acidic soil as well.
 

Jed

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Pine needles are traditionally used around strawberries. Keeps them from laying in the dirt as well as giving them the type of soil they need.
 

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