A Gardener’s Diary: Strawberry season

A Gardener’s Diary: Strawberry season

I should not have any problems remembering the summer of 2017

  • Aug. 2, 2017 1:30 a.m.

I should not have any problems remembering the summer of 2017.

So far, all I have done is watering and watering some more. I moved most of my houseplants back into the house as the basement is a lot cooler and they won’t dry so fast. I don’t know which country is under us but I should find out soon with the size of cracks I have in the yard.

My strawberry bed was so overcrowded that I went to the internet to find a solution. Throughout all the years I have been growing strawberries, I have never renovated the beds and didn’t realize that this should be done every year after you finish harvesting the last of your strawberries. This applies only to the June bearing plants — they are considered a perennial with a short life span of about three to four years. But if you look after the beds, they can produce much longer. Unless you buy new plants every year, you should be able to renew your old bed and have extra plants for starting some more or give away.

Strawberry plants produce best when they are young. They need full sun for at least six to eight hours. They send out runners that will become new plants, so thinning out the older plants while allowing runners to fill the spaces will keep your strawberry patch in continual production. The leaves should be cut 5 cm above the crown.

How to Renovate a Strawberry Bed from Iowa State University Extension

1. Weed the bed. You should keep the bed weeded all year, but it’s even more important when you are getting ready to renovate. Your plants will have an easier time becoming established if they do not have to compete with weeds for water and nutrients. It’s also easier to work in a weed free bed.

2. Remove all the leaves before new growth starts. You do not have to do this by hand. You can use a lawn mower for this. Set it high enough so the leaves are clipped, but the crowns are untouched. This step isn’t crucial unless your plants have a lot of leaf disease, but it will help to regenerate the planting.

3. Cultivate or till between the rows of strawberry plants, removing any plants that have strayed too far out of the row, so that the remaining rows are thinned or reduced to about 12 inches wide.

4. Thin the remaining plants so there is 4 – 6 inches between each plant. The remaining plants will send out runners that will develop into new, more productive plants.

5. Side-dress each row with a complete fertilizer and a half to 1 inch layer of soil. (I use compost).

6. Water thoroughly and make sure the bed gets at least 1 inch of water each week afterwards.

7. Be patient, the bed will recover and become lush in no time.

An alternative approach is to lift and replant the rooted runners in the early fall. This will give them time to become established and they will be ready to produce strawberries next season.

For more information, contact Jocelyne at 250-558-4556 jocelynesewell@gmail.com

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