Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Planting a Strawberry Patch

old strawberry patch
The Old Strawberry Patch

This past Sunday was the perfect fall day - sunny sky, a crisp breeze and stunning colors all around. I couldn't wait to go outside and do some much needed yard work. And as I was putting on my boots, thinking of all things that needed to get done, I realized that it had been a while since I'd made my way down to the prior owner's old garden, which is located toward the far end of our yard. So I took a slight detour from the morning's chores and had a look around. I wasn't surprised to find that the 20 sq ft cluster of mint, which had been cut down to the ground a few months ago, had grown back to half of its initial height of 4 ft. It will undoubtedly take a lot more effort on my part to get rid of this invasive plant.

I then made my way over to the right side of garden - home to a rather large and overgrown strawberry patch. As I knelt down for a closer inspection, to my surprise, I found a rouge strawberry. Then another. Parting a few leaves with my hands, I could see that most of runners produced over the years had rooted right through the worn black landscape fabric, which was put down when the garden was first dug. A light bulb then turned on in my head and I decided that what I really needed was new strawberry patch and that I would plant it NOW. The weekend's chores would just have to wait.

strawberry runner 1
strawberry runner 2
I was planning on purchasing new crowns for next year but realized then that I had a huge stock of my own right there in front of me. I gave one of the smaller and newer looking plants a slight pull and to my surprise, the roots came up through the landscape fabric clean and intact. For the next half hour, I would go on a hunting mission for some new runners and 1 year old crowns. It was like finding money.

sorting strawberry plants
strawberry plants

After I was done, I took my loot back to the house and sorted through my find, cutting off all of the older leaves and separating the crowns into three separate piles - new runners, smaller 1 year old crowns and larger/older crowns.
planting strawberries
After the plants were sorted and washed, I chose a large section of my side bed and went to work on amending the soil, adding loads of compost, some blood meal, greensand and rock phosphate. I placed the crowns about 6 inches apart (probably closer than I should have, but I'm expecting that some of them will not make it through the winter). After what felt like a good hour, I had planted over 50 strawberry crowns. I gave them all a long drink of water and covered my new patch with a layer of straw. Now it's just a matter of waiting to see whether or not this idea was just plain crazy.

planting strawberries 2
I'm thinking that I may go on another hunting trip next weekend. I'm my opinion, one can never grow too many strawberries. I'm not sure of this particular variety, but having seen strawberries in June when we first visited the house and the few now, I'm guessing it's an "everbearing" variety that fruits twice a year. If anyone has any advice on how to best plant, overwinter and care for strawberry plants, please share!


  1. Hi,

    You new bed of strawberries looks great. Im sure it will be just fine.
    If you are looking for advice, just recently I had a post on this


    Hope it helps, or if not, just ask me. Good luck!

  2. Congrats on the new patch! You could try mowing the old one down to the ground and maybe get a couple more years out of it. I forget if this should be done now or in the Spring??

    Has anyone else heard to do this?

  3. I didn't know you planted strawberries ;)
    I grew up in the country and we had wild strawberries on the West side of our property, my father would mow them in the late fall and then not again. We always had strawberries (as long as we got to them before the dog).

    How do you tell the young crowns from the old crowns?

  4. My favorite memories of my mom's garden is picking the strawberries. I so love them. For the moment I've given up here due to the chipmunks, but I'm sure I'll plant again sometime. Your bed looks nice, but I'm sure it will be nicer come June.

  5. vrlarica - thanks for the tip! I will definitely refer to your post.

    Kelly - I used to cut all of the foliage off of my strawberry plants in the fall. Where the old patch is now, I'd like to grow tomatoes and corn next summer so, sadly, it will have to go. Which is why I'd like to save as many runners as I can.

    THM - This is just my guess but he younger crowns were definitely smaller and had paler roots. The older ones were more knobby, woody and established. I thought I'd hedge my bests next year by transplanting both.

    Daphne - You should definitely plant them again..with some netting. Those chipmunks are a pest, aren't they!

  6. I grew stawberries on my porch in a pot on the railing and the runners (babies) reached all the way to the ground by summers end. So I cut them off and planted them and we'll see what happens next year. They look pretty good right now! Good luck...(yes, the chipmunks are annoying!)

  7. Never too many strawberries, I agree ! Great move.
    I should start getting a decent yield from my strawberries next year. Can't wait ! I also transplanted a small lot of wild strawberries as an experiment.

  8. Oh, Thomas...I LOVE strawberry patches. I planted some a couple of years ago. Fresca was the variety. Just happened to be what they had that day at the strawberry plant store. We had so much fun this summer with those strawberries. My little 3 year neice would open the gate to the garden...and her eyes just about popped out her head.. Auntie..strawberries..I handed her an old wood berry box and off she went...those berries provided lots of summer fun....and great memories.....