What’s a strawberry to do?

Summer strawberry patch

Leaf spot disease – and weeds – make for a sad-looking patch.

According to the Trusty Gardener’s Blog, “In mid-summer, the strawberry patch can look pretty bad. Leaf spot diseases take hold, especially in a year with alternating flooded and dry periods”. This description is spot-on (no pun intended) with the state our strawberry patch was in by late June/early July. Feeling so blessed to have an established strawberry patch in our yard, we wanted to make sure we did everything to take care of it.

The Trusty Gardener goes on to describe the “by-the-book” steps to maintaining your strawberry patch:

  1. Pull weeds.
  2. Remove the old strawberry leaves. You can mow the tops off or cut the plants back by hand and thin at the same time.
  3. Thin the plants, leaving 4-6″ between plants to keep them from getting too crowded. Choose to leave the younger, healthier plants so the strawberry patch will keep renewing itself.
  4. Top off the beds with a half-inch of soil or compost.
  5. Fertilize, if desired.
  6. Make sure the plants get 1-inch of water each week to promote growth if it does not rain.

I set to work and got through doing steps 1, 2, and 3 in about 1/3 of the patch. It’s hard work!

Strawberry progress

Progress with cutting back, weeding, thinning and mulching the patch. Lots still to do!

On a different note, I read in some gardening books earlier this year a method for propagating strawberries from runners so you can move the young plants where you want. It involves placing pots (either buried or above ground) next to the parent plants and pinning the baby plants in place there while they develop roots, then cutting the runner in between. (See Dav’s Bit o the Web‘s step-by-step.) I didn’t try this on a large scale yet, but had a small success with the strawberries I already had in containers. How excited I was to see this baby one successfully putting down roots!

Baby strawberry

Baby strawberry. Next step: cut the cord!

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