Strawberry runners growing after the fruiting stage

This year is our second attempt at growing strawberries and we’ve made some modifications. We planted  them into a raised bed with fresh compost, mulched heavily with wood chips, and the piece de resistance: a plastic owl to scare off hungry birds.

And I must say, our improvements have worked! Last year I hardly tasted a single strawberry due to birds and slugs. The weeds completely took over, stunting the meager growth. This year, we’ve enjoyed strawberries every day since mid-June. I don’t think a single berry has been lost to pests. And the weeds are practically non-existent. The ones that do spring up are easy to pull.

Now the plants are finishing their fruiting stage and have started sending out runners. Runners are how strawberries propagate themselves. It’s pretty fascinating to see how prolific these little plants are. Its not unusual to see five or more runners growing out of each plant. And these things grow like crazy — up to 5 inches per day!

Strawberry runners grow at an amazing pace

Because of the wood mulch its important to help the runners get established in good soil. These will be the fruit-bearing plants for next year. So for the past few weeks I’ve been pulling back the mulch in strategic places and pinning down the runners into the soil.

Strawberry runners planted into good soil

Within a few days the roots have set and leaves begin forming. The strawberries will continue to spread this way, year after year.

Planted strawberry runner taking root