Our strawberries are starting to ripen now, each morning I greedily search through the foliage for ruby red fruit. We grow Cambridge Favourite strawberries and started our patch with just a few plants, collecting runners over the years to plant in old wine crates, troughs and hanging baskets extends our picking enjoyment even further.
The original strawberry patch is 3 years old and full to the brim, my plan is to pot up runners before they root down into the lawn and start a new bed in autumn or early spring to eventually succeed the current one. To avoid a build up of disease and pests it’s best to plant on new ground every 3 -5 years, yields will reduce dramatically after 2 years but the plants will keep fruiting with a bit of care.
Snacking on a warm strawberry straight from the garden is one of the most pleasurable moments of a British summer, another is a glass of Pimms swimming with sweet boozy fruit (for me anyway). Oh yeah!
Some of my strawberry plants needed replacing, they were in their fourth year of fruiting and the yield was much less this year. Throughout summer the plants threw out lots of runners so I potted them up to be the replacements rather than buying new plants. This is how I did it:
- Fill 3in pots with compost
- Select a few runners from the adult strawberry plants, place the largest leafy section of each runner onto the surface of a pot of compost and place a small stone on the runner stem to weight it down
- Leave the pots in place until the leafy section of the runner roots into the compost, usually in a few weeks
Once the baby strawberry plant puts on some growth you can cut the runner stem, basically you are cutting the cord from the parent plant. You can then move the baby strawberries to wherever you like. If you grow your strawberries in a bed you could allow the runners to root themselves straight into the ground, dig them up if you need to move them to a better position. I have already dug up my old strawberry plants and replaced them with the strongest baby plants in a new patch, the smaller runners will overwinter in my mini unheated greenhouse and these will be planted out next spring.