fruit strawberries

Strawberries – Backup Made the Silver Lining

If you want to be successful in gardening it’s important to have backup whenever you can.

An Example of Backup – A Story from my Garden

No matter how beautiful and disease free your strawberry plants are when you plant them, there are common problems experienced by strawberries that start to show up about the time fruiting is almost over. (At least that is the case here in Virginia.)

Because of this, I renovate my strawberry bed immediately after fruiting is done in mid or late June to kill off responsible pathogens in the soil.

One of the things involved is taking the mulch off the bed and letting the sun and elements work on killing pathogens for the next several weeks.  Then I await the good rains that usually come sometime from June 10th through June 15th.  After that I mulch the bed heavily again and consider my strawberries ready for new growth and a new season.

Last year the rain never came.  Foolishly, I waited a week or so.  By then we were 3 weeks into the worst drought and heat I ever remember.  The bed was pretty much bone dry by then.  Sure didn’t want to mulch under those conditions.  That would only serve to keep the ground dry even after a rain.

It was fall before the bed was rained on and could be mulched.  I lost all but 3 strawberry plants.

I had planted a new backup bed in the spring.  I lost all but 4 plants even with mulch on it!

My backup strawberries at the edges of my borders came through with flying colors!  Some of those get a little shade which obviously they appreciated very much.



This Season

Strawberry season is now upon us. It would be a sad spring without fresh, sweet and delicious homegrown strawberries, but we are getting plenty for eating fresh. None to freeze this year.  But last year was a bumper crop so I still have at least 18 pints in the freezer.  Enough to get me through the winter.

What would have been a dark cloud on this season, had a bright silver lining because of backup.

Suggestions for Backup in Your Garden

When you plant your strawberries or when the runners come from your existing plants why not have a backup plan? Put a few plants in various places other than your main bed.  Maybe one at the end of several beds. Some at the edge of your borders.  Maybe a few at a corner of your garden. If the plants spread more than you want, just pull them out.

In addition to that, why not plant more than one variety.  Maybe an early variety and a later fruiting variety.

Final Thought

These are easy things to do and can really payoff for you.  Your backup plan just might end up being responsible for a silver lining for you as well.


More Posts on Strawberries:

16 Points to Help You Grow and Enjoy Strawberries All Year

Strawberries – A Reminder


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  • ok so my berries were a bust this year. Very wet this spring, alot of slug damage. They need replacing anyway. These plants have been in the same place for about 5-6 years. Going to start fresh with new plants in a new bed. Should I buy plants this year so they have a year tom establish or wait till spring when new plants are available in the spring?

  • Hi Don,

    Sometimes it’s hard to get strawberry plants in the fall, but I think it would be worth a try. Gives them a jump start on next year. Make sure you mulch the bed (and up to the plants) heavily.

    I’ve had good luck with fall planting of strawberries. I hope you will as well.


  • Thanks Theresa, I’ll have to think about this. I really miss the strawberries. I’ve had a few but they just make you want more.

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