At the end of March I planted day-neutral strawberries in a raised bed. These are the strawberries that provide three harvests during a growing season. After about three months of growth, the plants are doing well. They have the brightest green leaves and also the biggest leaves I’ve ever seen on strawberry plants.
For the last month I’ve been removing runners from the plants. All strawberry plants produce runners which are technically termed stolons. A stolon is a stem of a plant that grows along the surface of the ground and produces roots and plants at the nodes along the stem. This is a way that plants clone themselves, producing new plants that are genetically identical to the parent plant.
June bearing strawberries are often planted far apart and the runners are allowed to form new plants that create a bed of cloned plants. When I was researching day-neutral strawberries, I read that the plants don’t produce as many runners and it’s recommended that any that do form be removed. Because of this, the plants are spaced much closer than June bearing plants.
When I read that day-neutral plants didn’t produce a lot of runners, I was expecting to find one on every other plant. How wrong I was! I’ve found that each is producing about 5 runners. This seems like a lot but when I grew June bearing strawberries, each of those plants could easily have 10 or more runners. So I guess the articles were right – 5 is less than 10 but it still seems like a lot. I’ve followed the article’s advice and have been faithful in cutting the runners off of the plants whenever I see them.
The plants have also started to bloom. When I first planted them there were a few blooms but I cut all of them off so that the plants could get established. Now the blooms are everywhere so I guess this is the summer crop that’s forming. It’ll be interesting to see how these strawberries grow. The same articles that stated there weren’t a lot of runners also reported that the berries are smaller in the summer because of the heat. Well, the heat is coming, so we’ll see what this summer crop of berries will look like.
The fun part of growing something new is that you don’t know what’s going to happen. I have no frame of reference when it comes to growing strawberries that can be picked in July – day-neutral strawberries are a brand new experience for me. I can’t wait to see how these summer strawberries look and taste!