We have another bumper crop of strawberries this year! Last year I moved the strawberries to their forever home which is in the same bed that I am growing peas. Please see my prior post to see why these two plants make great companions.
Two years ago, I planted strawberry bare roots (see the picture to the right) in early Spring instead of buying plants. While the bare roots look dead, they do become beautiful plants. The price was great – I found a pack of 10 bare roots for $2.98. As for planting, the crown of the bare root should remain above the soil and the root should be fanned out and be 2 inches below the soil surface. Don’t forget that strawberries are perennials and will come back in the early Spring. You can always speed up the process by putting a cover on them.
Also, the strawberry plants will send off runners or shoots. The shoot or the baby strawberry plant will root itself in the ground. If you want the mama plant and the baby plants to be productive, you will need to cut the “umbilical” cord after the baby roots itself. You can also share and give a baby plant to a friend!
I am growing June-bearing and everbearing strawberries. June-bearing strawberries produce berries in late Spring and early Summer and everbearing strawberries produce berries from Spring to Fall. As for the runners, the June-bearing strawberries send off the most runners. The strawberry flower which becomes the strawberry is quite a beauty. I have some plants that bear white flowers and others with pink flowers.
Two tips: 1) I always keep black deer netting available which I buy at my local Lowes. I drape the deer netting over the strawberry plants. The deer netting has openings that are 7/8″ and deters the birds from going after the berries. I started using the netting a few years ago after a sparrow made a nest in the middle of my strawberry patch and wouldn’t let me near my strawberries because of her babies! 2) I keep coco fiber that is left over from my planter boxes on hand to put under the strawberries. You can also use straw or mulch. If the strawberries touch the wet soil, it will cause them to rot.
So for my acid loving plants such as strawberries, I give them organic plant food in the Spring and Fall. I use Holly-tone from Espoma. Last year I applied it in the Spring and Fall and it made quite a difference. Please follow the directions on the package and use half of the amount in the Fall. With most slow releasing plant foot that is granular, you should move the mulch or cocoa fiber back, apply the plant food around the drip line (the outer edge of the plant), water, and then gently put the mulch or cocoa fiber back in place.