Giving some love to an old strawberry bed

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Mike Green 5 years, 10 months ago.

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    Hi there,

    We have been trying out the no-dig system in our garden this year. We got a house last year and we were lucky enough that there were already 6 beds set, a greenhouse and three big compost containers. So we were pretty much ready to go. And then a very hard late winter and a sudden very very warm spring. It seems like a big experiment so far as we have never really had a garden before. So much to learn… Thanks for sharing all the knowledge around 🙂

    My question here is about an old strawberry bed that already existed for quite a few years before we bought the place. It gave us some strawberries last year and it has red strawberries right now. We did not not do anything with it at all this year apart from taking out some weeds. I think next year it deserves some love and care but I am unsure what that would be.

    Currently there is a wooden frame that is in bad shape and that we will replace.
    Then as I can see there is a black plastic cover on top of the soil and that is covered with bark. And that seems like the wrong approach.

    My idea was to take away the plastic and bark in fall, spread 5-6 cm of compost on top and tidy up the plants for next year. Then some weeding and hoeing in spring. Ive seen people here talking about straw mulch. Would that be better? We are located South of Stockholm. Usually it’s quite wet (definitely not THIS year though) and then there is slugs.

    What would you suggest as the best approach?

    Thanks in advance!



    Strawberry plants do not last forever. If you look closely at them you will see there is a parent plant and lots of runners coming off them long thin stalks with small plants on them. Some will already have rooted, probably. Others will just be little plants with no obvious roots. These can be pegged down so they are in touch with soil. When they have rooted, you can separate from the parent plant. The old plants I usually discard after 3 years or so and replace with the New plants. First year plants have fewer fruits, but I find they are very sweet then more prolific in the next two years, then fall off and get rather seedy looking.
    Straw and slugs are great companions! I find they are fine on dry compost. Have fun!


    Mike Green

    I have been 3 rows of strawberries, and have been replacing one row a year until I started the No Dig system.
    The 3 rows are now in a bed, and I would like to take out the 3 year old row and replace it with new plants.
    Id this acceptable, or should they go into ne ground?



    Mike, at a previous house I grew strawberries for many years (at least 12 I think) in the same bed replacing a third of them each year with new plants from the runners. Didn’t seem to do them any harm and had some great yields.


    Mike Green

    That’s very helpful Derek – thank you. I shall follow your example.



    Agree with the above, although many recommend new ground for maximum vitality and prevention of fusarium virus.Because your plants are likely to produce many more runners than are
    required for replacement, I would position filled 4″ pots of compost and select the strongest runners to pin down with wire clips(4″ folded from coathanger)and water at intervals until established. If your new ground is not yet ready, then pot on into 7″pots and plant out before winter finishes. Beds to be retained benefit from renovation after fruiting, and plants that are not required for propagation will build without dependent runners to support. therefore remove those unwanted runners to conserve their energy


    Mike Green

    Thank you very much, Cleansweep (I wonder where that comes from!). Very much appreciated
    All the best

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