The Sweet Charlie strawberries I planted in October have grown steadily since I put them in the ground. The started blooming several weeks ago.
Sweet Charlies are supposed to be especially sweet, so sweet they’re often described as tasting like they have been dipped in sugar and are a very popular market variety. I’ll report back on that once they’re ripe.
I examine the strawberry bed several times a day, giving it encouragement and sending out discouraging vibes to the slugs, birds, voles, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, & possums* that might also have an eye on my berries.
I have deer netting for birds if it becomes necessary, and believe me, I will do whatever it takes to keep the critters from getting away with my crop.
Strawberry plants lose productivity after about three years, so to avoid having to spend money on more plants and shipping, etc., I want to root the runners the plants are beginning to send out. This way, I’ll have clones of the existing plants to replant in another spot.
Taking out the runners will also help keep the current bed from becoming overgrown–strawberries need lots of room to get good sunlight and circulation. The runners will root by themselves if left alone, but I wanted to have some in pots ready to dig up so I wouldn’t disturb the roots as much.
Here’s what I did: This is a strawberry runner.
It’s just a stolon from the “mother” plant looking for a place to root and start a new “daughter” plant. They’re easy to spot because they look like vines reaching out and away from the original plant.
I cut some re-purposed nursery 9-packs into individual cells . . .
. . . and buried them in the ground underneath the runner where new growth was starting.
I filled the cell with the soil I dug out to make the hole and pinned the runner down with a piece of clothes hanger wire bent like a hairpin.
These stolons will root in the soil in the cells over the next few weeks. Then I can clip them from the mother plant and replant them elsewhere or share them with other gardeners. Once I’ve rooted as many of the runners as I want to have new plants, I can snip and discard other runners sent out from the mother plants so they can concentrate on berry-growing instead of sending off adventitious shoots and roots.