Strawberry bed rejuvenation is very straight forward but it is also an essential part of strawberry care. If you do not renovate the bed, the plants will form a thick mass, choking themselves out and eventually they will stop producing.
It's late winter and this time of year, your strawberries may look something like this:
The bed pictured above is an example of a 'matted-row' planting system, but the following guidelines for spring-care apply for most home-garden strawberry patches:
- Remove all dead foliage: Not only will this help make your strawberry patch look tidier, but removing the old, decaying leaves will help control disease.
- Weed area thoroughly: Weeding will only become harder as the plants begin to fill back in, so a thorough weeding in the spring will go a long way in reducing the time your spend on strawberry maintenance the rest of the year!
- Thin plants to 4-6 inches apart: Remove some runners and older plants. Strawberries plants are most productive in their first 1-3 years. There will be many runners, and most likely you will need to remove some, but if your mother plants are getting old, allow some of the runner to root and become new plants.
- Add fertilizer: Ours is 4% Nitrogen(N), 4% Phosphorus(P), 3% Potasium(K), but any all-purpose organic vegetable garden fertilizer will work).
After you clean up your strawberry patch, it should look something like this: