I have been reading that Strawberry production declines after a few years and that there is some maintenance that can keep a patch of berries going longer. I have come up with a long term plan that could keep my 6 ft x 8 ft bed of strawberries going for quite a while. It’s completely untested, but give me a few years and I’ll let you know how it’s going.
- Spring 2009- I planted half the bed with strawberries (4 x 6) and half the bed with peppers.
- Spring 2010 – I realized that strawberry runners had increased the size of the patch, under cover of pepper plants, to 6 x 6 ft. I added a few new bareroot strawberries to fill in the rest.
- Summer 2010 – After production slows down and stops I will just mow the strawberries off (probably by hand with hedge clippers) about 1 inch above the crowns, weed the bed well, and let them grow.
- Summer 2011 – When this year’s crop stops producing, and after I mow the foliage, I’m going to till up and destroy two-thirds of the plants, in two long 2 x 8 foot sections, leaving only the middle 2 x 8 foot row. I will add lots of compost to the tilled area. Throughout the rest of the summer and fall I will let the plants in the middle of the bed send out runners and grow me all new plants in the tilled area.
- Summer 2012 – Let the bed crop, mow the leaves off, and then till in the center third of the bed that had been planted since 2009. Add lots of compost to the tilled area. Runners will quickly fill the area back in.
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 on alternating years.
Does that sound like it will work? I’ll constantly be destroying the oldest plants and growing new ones.