Preparing a Strawberry Bed and the Plants to Go In It
Potting up strawberries from runners is one of my favourite jobs on the allotment, and I’ve been having a grand time doing this in the warm evening sun of the past week or so.
This is an easy job, but such a satisfying one too. I love making the gentle intervention in the strawbs unfussy bed-spreading process. If I could equate this job to a feeling, it’d definitely be a cheery one.
Potting Up Runners
My bed at the allotment is stuffed full of runners at the moment, I’ve almost had an embarrassment of riches. I’ve been looking for the strongest roots off a runner, like the one in the picture below. To me, they look like little pincers.
Once I’ve found a choice candidate, I’ve been potting them up in a small pot of multipurpose compost, pushing the roots a few centimetres under if I can. I put a stone on the plant to keep it in place, and then leave it be in a sunny spot to establish. To be safe, I leave the plant a couple of weeks, and give it plenty of water.
Once I’m happy that the baby plant is happy, I’ll snip it free from the runner with secateurs or scissors.
This is all very timely for a number of reasons. My strawberry plants at the allotment are about 4 years old now, and I’m told will now decrease in productivity and require moving. I also definitely want strawberries on my Patch From Scratch, and with the time to plant out maincrop strawberries coming up fast, I need some young strawberry plants to put on there.
Maincrop strawbs go in during Autumn, so I’ve cleared a sliver of earth alongside my greenhouse in the garden, and I’m now also planning to put some more at the back of the garden where I was considering homing compost bins. This will give me strawberry beds roughly the same size as the one at my plot, and as strawberries don’t mind being under taller fruit, I can still grow something up the ugly wall.
Creating the Bed
Having tidied and prepared the bed, my job for this weekend is to dig in some manure or compost. Andi Clevely’s The Allotment Book recommends a ‘…large bucketful per square yard,’ dug in well below the surface.
Hopefully in a couple of weeks my strawberry plants will be ready to go in the ground and I can embark on an exciting Autumn strawb planting session.
This will be the first crops to make their way on to my Patch from Scratch, and it feels almost like a passing of the baton. One of my favourite crops to grow, going directly from allotment plot to kitchen garden. I couldn’t think of anything more fitting to be starting me off on my new growing space.