How to create a strawberries bed that grows better each year
A properly tended strawberry bed will give you bumper crops of luscious strawberries for years to come, with surprisingly less effort than you would expect.
There is nothing quite like picking delicious juicy strawberries right out of your own garden and popping them directly into your mouth. The taste is amazing, The strawberries are much sweeter and the vitamin content much higher if they have not taken the long journey from the grower to you.
Your strawberries will grow prolifically forever if you know a few simple tricks.
Prepare the layout
Plan your bed to accommodate rows 5 ft across, with plants spaced 2 ft apart in the rows.
Dig up a 1 ft circle where each plant will go, and make sure all perennial weed or grass roots are removed from these cultivated circles.
Prepare the ground
Lay newspapers 7 -10 sheets thick to cover the entire bed except for a small gap where each plant will be. Sprinkle bone meal lightly all over this. Add a thick layer of compost or very fine mulch such as grass clippings. Sprinkle a small quantity of wood ashes over the surface to discourage slugs, and nourish the soil, but go easy on the ashes; too much will make the soil alkaline.
Plant the strawberry plants with the roots spread wide and the crowns at the surface. Water well.
The first summer
Pick off the first year flower buds.
When the runners form give them some guidance to keep them on the bed but do not pinch any off.
Every couple of weeks, sprinkle a thin layer of grass clippings over the bed.
When the plants start to come to life in spring, give them another light feeding of bone meal, a bit more compost, and a very fine sprinkling of ashes.
When the strawberries start to show color, cover with bird netting.
Pick your ripe berries daily.
Mow and cultivate.
The day your berries finish bearing, run a mower through the center of the bed. Mow down all but a slim row of plants on one side of the first row planted. Till under all the older plants and everything else in the bed except the single row of young plants. These will now form new runners and be the parents of your next year’s bed.
Every year after bearing, follow the same procedure, moving the row over slightly so that the old plants are destroyed every year and a row of young plants take their place as parents. This will give you a heavily bearing bed that stays weed free and has the vigour of a healthy new bed.