This year was the first year that I’ve properly taken the time to grow strawberries. I’ve grown Elsanta strawberries because I’ve read that these are the most fruitful and reliable varieties on the market. I’ve planted these straight into the ground at the allotment and because its the first year I didn’t expect much of a crop, I thought I would just let the plants get established first – I did get a couple of strawberries, but I think these went straight to the birds and squirrels.
Toward the end of the crop, strawberry plants start to produce runners, also known as stolons. The runner will produce new shoots every 30cm or so and this is great because you can cultivate these new shoots into new plants.
Cultivating strawberry shoots from runners is incredibly easy.
- First, dig a hole in the ground of where you want the new strawberry plant to sit, and place a 2-3inch pot of multi-purpose compost into the ground.
- Take a shoot, and place it on top of, or into the pot of multipurpose compost, use a peg or a bent cocktail stick to hold the shoot down.
- Water thoroughly and within three to six weeks, you should have a plant with a fully established root stock ready to plant into the ground.
- If you want to concentrate the mother plant’s energy into the new shoot, cut the runner so that it doesn’t produce new shoots. Typically, you want to aim for around two to three new shoots per runner plant.
If run out of time to do the above, the strawberry plants will take root wherever, so you can always dig these up and plant them where you want them if this is more convenient. The strongest shoots tend to be the plants nearest to the mother plant.
During the fruiting season, it’s not unheard of to pick out the runners so that most of the plant energy is put into your fruit.