Maintain a Healthy Strawberry Patch
Well-cared for strawberry plants produce baskets full of big, juicy strawberries for three to five years. As the plants get older, they produce smaller strawberries. Buying new strawberry plants makes intuitive sense, but is unnecessary.
Everbearing Strawberry Plants
Moving strawberry plants to a new location rejuvenates and causes them to produce as if they were young again. Some gardeners prefer the “zig zag” method of tending strawberry plants. They keep at least two strawberry patch locations, Patch A and Patch B. Every year or two the gardeners dig up both patches. They plant the strawberries from Patch A into Patch B, and the strawberries from Patch B into Patch A. This ensures a prolific harvest of big, sweet, juicy strawberries every year and for no additional cost.
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How to Transplant Strawberries
Early spring is the best time to dig up and move strawberry plants. Gardeners must wait until the last frost is over and the ground is soft and workable. It is easiest to transplant strawberries while they are still small and before strawberry flowers begin to bloom.
Dig up strawberry plants with a four tine pitchfork. Push the tines deep into the soil next to the strawberry plants with one foot. Let the plants come up in large clumps of soil; this helps keep the roots intact. Pick the plants up gently and allow soft dirt to fall away; brushing dirt off may rip the roots. A dug up strawberry plant will have its green leaves, a thick central root, and many string-like extensions. The crown is the top of the thick root from which the green leaves emerge.
Dig shallow holes in which to replant strawberries. The strawberry plant will do best if the crown remains above ground, and the remainder of the root is covered with soil. There is no need to pack the dirt tightly over the strawberries; on the contrary, pouring soil over the strawberries in shallow holes is all that is needed. The stringy “tentacles” of the strawberry plant will reach out and root and create new plants.
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Strawberry plants do extremely well in raised beds. In order to incorporate the “zig-zag” method of maintaining healthy strawberry plants, build two strawberry patch raised beds.
The rewards of maintaining strawberry patches are plentiful. In addition to instant summer snacking, home-grown organic strawberries make the tastiest strawberry jam imaginable. People who make their own jams and jellies control both the freshness of the fruit and the amount of sugar and other ingredients. Home made strawberry jam tastes like strawberries, not corn syrup or some other fruit.
Utilizing the “zig-zag” method of strawberry gardening enables gardeners to save money over the years by avoiding buying new strawberry plants, and to enjoy their own big, sweet, juicy strawberries every year.