Frugal Gardening: Strawberry Daughters

Frugal Gardening: Strawberry Daughters

Strawberry Runners

As most seasoned gardeners know, one of the easiest plants to propagate is the strawberry. It is possible to make only a minimal financial investment and buy just few strawberry plants when getting a bed started, and within a matter of a few short years, have a giant patch of strawberry plants, all clones of the original variety.   This is because strawberries send out runners, or stolons, in order to reproduce.

This time of year, at least here in SoCal, it is easy to pull up these daughter plants and snip them from the mother plants to transplant them to a new strawberry bed, to rejuvenate an old one, or to share with friends. Since we just had a nice rain a few days ago, the soil was soft this afternoon and the daughter plants just lifted out with their newly developing roots.  I pulled off the outer leaves, reducing the leaves to just two or three inner ones, and trimmed off the remaining stolon runners from the new plants.  At the same time I cleaned up the mother plants.  I already have plenty of strawberries growing in three different parts of my yard, so I potted up about nine of the best looking ones to share with fellow gardeners or to later sell at our spring yard sale.

One draw back of letting my strawberries send out runners, the daughter plants suck the energy from the mother plant and reduce the fruit production on the original plants.  To keep my strawberries productive, I find it is necessary to regularly thin the runners out early each fall.

November is the best the month locally to start a new strawberry patch, but anytime in the cooler months of the year is okay, too.  By mid February, strawberry fruit season is in full swing around here.  We usually can count on picking strawberries from February to June, and then harvest one or two berries a week, kind of sporadically throughout the rest of the year, depending on the location of the plants in the yard.

daughter strawberry plant just prior to the trimming and potting up


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