Inside: Renovating strawberries isn’t difficult–and you’ll be glad you did! Here’s what to do once the harvest is over.
You’ve picked berries until you’re seeing them in your sleep, but finally–finally!–the harvest is over. The strawberries are happily tucked into their frozen home, awaiting their culinary future. So, what to do with that strawberry bed?
Maybe yours looks like mine. Where did those weeds come from, anyway? No matter, it’s time to take action. Time to renovate.
Take courage! It’s not easy taking a weed eater to a carpet of lush green leaves, but your plants will come back stronger than before. How do you actually go about renovating strawberries? First locate your spent plants. Those are the ones with stems that look woody and leaves that are brown around the edges–plants that didn’t yield as many berries. Older plants. For these I chop the leaves and the crown right down to the soil line.
Next I find plants that have strayed past their boundaries–for example, those that are growing on the edge of the bed and into the yard. I keep more plants than others do, but a good rule of thumb is to leave four to six inches between plants and twelve inches between rows. I also take out the weeds.
For the plants I decide to keep, I chop the tops off, making sure to leave the crown. What’s the crown? The part that extends about an inch above the roots and which the stems grow out of.
Here is what the bed looks like after a good haircut. I followed the renovation with an application of my homemade fertilizer–weed tea. (More on that in another post.)
Notes on Renovating Strawberries
- Plants produce best when young, which is why you thin out the older ones.
- The best time to renovate is after the strawberries have stopped producing. They are semi-dormant after the harvest.
- How often should you renovate? For June-bearing varieties, once a year. Two to four years for day neutral and everbearing.
- Continue watering your bed, making sure it gets about an inch of water per week during the growing season.
You might be wondering, is it really necessary to renovate strawberries? Actually, you don’t have to do it. You can grow the berries as annuals and simply pluck out the plants at the end of the season. Or you can remove the old plants and replace with new ones. But after learning how simple it is to renovate strawberries, I hope you will give it a try. Your plants will thrive!
To renovate or not. What’s your opinion? Leave us a comment.
Related posts: My 3 Essential Tips for Growing Strawberries