There is a definite seasonal shift on the day that you pick your last strawberries. You know that you have left the first part of the growing season, the part where everything is new and kinda “green” and that you are headed into the real summer. I picked my last strawberries yesterday. Oh well.
But now it is time to redo the strawberry bed. My bed is a circle about eight feet in diameter that I have divided into four pie shaped quadrants with a space between the quadrants to place my feet when working the beds or picking the berries. Each year, after harvesting, I select the three or four best plants in each quadrant and pull out all of the others. The best plants are the ones that are starting into their second year and have set down solid roots. Then I work up the soil where I took out the old plants and spread compost over the top (watching that I don’t mess up the crown-soil levels on the remaining plants. The remaining plants will now send out their runners and I’ll maneuver the runners to the spaces I want filled in. In a few weeks there will be new plants getting ready for next year’s production. My bed is about 6 years old now and still going strong. We get about 25 or so quarts of berries from it each year and that gives us enough over the course of 3-4 weeks for many breakfasts, desserts and preserves … especially delicious is the strawberry-gooseberry blend which requires great luck or freezing some strawberries to get them together at the same time.