Transplanting the strawberry runners has been long overdue and so I went for it today so that they would still get a chance to establish themselves over the winter in preparation for a bumper harvest in summer…I hope.
I got a fairly large pot, about 10 inches across and put in a 1 inch layer of pebbles at the bottom. Strawberries must have good drainage in order to flourish.
Then I put in a load of our own garden soil, complete with worm(in the middle). I am using this in preference to a peat based soil in order to see if it will dry out less easily. This year the strawberry pots were prone to drying out and were then hard to re-wet, so I’m hoping the heavier clay soil will help. Then I popped in the baby strawberry on top of this and filled up the rest of the container with rich garden compost.
I put in about 2 or 3 inches of this as I have read that Strawberries like lots of humus and fertility that is not to highly nitrogenous. I think that this means you shouldn’t use fresh manure and possibly other things that I haven’t identified yet. I still a bit confused about this.
I didn’t fill the container as much as I could. I just barely got up to the same level as the base of the plant, the crown. This is because I want to add some composted manure later in the winter and I don’t want to cover over the crown of the strawberry. If this is under the soil it will rot and then the plant will probably die.
To top off the planting I added a bit of seaweed meal as an all round tonic. I gave the newly potted strawberry a reasonably good water and set in the garden where it will get the best sun. They all look very happy now and I’m also going to compare each plant to see how much difference the size of the pot makes to the amount of fruit obtained. I’ll report on that in about 9 months!
And now a report on this summer’s fruiting. The strange thing about our existing strawberry plants is that they are setting fruit again. I‘m not sure if they have been confused by the weather but three of the plants have nearly fully grown fruit on them. I have a feeling they won’t ripen but I might put one of the smaller containers in the greenhouse and see what happens.
The one thing that I learnt was that if you are putting strawberries in pots then it is better to plant just one per pot. We planted three in a large fish box and in the end it was hard to get into to the middle to maintain them and check on the fruits. Also there were runners appearing from every where and even though I was trying to restrict there numbers they just kept sneaking out because it was so hard to see into the plants. The strawberries planted singly however were very easy to keep an eye on and these also suffered less slug damage. I think it was just too comfy in among the leaves in the triple planted box for the slugs. There were too many hiding places. I also found that taking a pot and placing in a tub of water in order to give it a good soaking also hunted out any sneaky slugs and they could then be picked off as they scrambled, slowly, up the side of the container. The water protection in the form of the raft with its feet in water also helped. Hopefully next year will be a better year. The small number of strawberries were absolutely amazingly tasty and I just can’t wait for a proper bowlful……mmmmm