Nearly halfway through winter! Now is a great time to get some strawberries in your garden. Strawberries need a period of cold to ensure they flower and fruit well and planting them early will allow them to establish stronger roots before spring when they can then put their energy into flower production.
Once you plant strawberries, you’ll have them forever. A strawberry plant will produce many runners over its lifetime and these runners will root and become their own individual plants. This means that you will have forever multiplying strawberry plants and your few plants you started with will become many over the years.
As the flowers start coming through in springtime on your little plants, you can remove the little ones if you like as this will push the plant to produce larger flowers in late spring and summer.
After they finish fruiting, strawberries will send out runners. How many of these runners you keep is up to you. Some people choose to snip most runners off to allow the parent strawberry plant to put its energy into growing itself bigger as opposed to all its offspring. I let my runners grow then snip them off the parent plant as soon as they have their own roots, as I want a lot of strawberry plants but don’t want to sap the energy from the parent plant by keeping them attached. If you don’t want heaps of runners, I do suggest you let a couple grow as strawberries do their best fruiting in the first three years so after that you can replace the older plants with a new runner.
Ensuring you have a good soil starting base is key if you want lots of delicious strawberries. Lots of organic materials such as compost, rotted manure, chopped seaweed and leaf mould will help produce a bumper crop. Keep your strawberries well mulched too to retain moisture and nutrients. They’re acid-loving plants, so if you can source some pine needles you can add that into your mulch.