Planting strawberries - do they have to be in rows?
I've got around 30 strawberry plants which I grew last year. I bought them as plugs around a year ago and have since been growing them in pots. However, I am hoping to plant them all out into a bed today...
I've been reading up about spacing. Most sites recommend around 30 - 45 cm (12 - 18 inches) between plants, and anything from 60 - 120 cm (2 - 4 foot) between rows.
My question is whether the row spacing is essential? I'd prefer not to grow in rows and just have the bed filled with the plants, with the odd "stepping stone" to reach the ones at the back. Are the row spacing recommendations there for ease of cultivation and care, or for the health of the plants? Is it possible to just fill the bed with plants all 30 - 45 cm apart and not worry at all about rows?
Any advice most appreciated. And I hope everyone is enjoying the sun
I have found that if you're going to cope with selecting runners for propagation (strawberry plants don't last for ever) it's much better to have regular spacing. I've also found it much easier to net safely against birds, toddlers and greedy labradors if the plants are spaced regularly.
Also, as an artist I enjoy the aesthetic of plants in the veg patch in rows, against the more jumbled planting of my flower beds around them ... maybe that's just me
Thanks for the quick reply.
I guess I am still thinking to plant in rows, but with less of a row gap if possible (and not detrimental to the plants). So if I went for plants 30 cm apart, in rows 40 - 45 cm apart, and the odd stepping stone in place of a plant so that I can reach all areas, would that work? Or would they be too crowded?
Just thinking about it ... if the plants are all the same distance apart, won't they be in rows, or an off-set grid anyway?
I plant mine with about a 30cm gap between plants and about the same 45cm you mention between rows and get good crops. I think the larger spacings often quoted are probably what farmers use and is a bit excessive for the average garden.
Oh right ... I thought you were after a more random effect ........
Sorry, it was a bit unclear how I wrote it in the OP, and even the title. What I was really getting at was whether the large row spacings are necessary, or whether it is possible to do - say - 30cm between plants and 40-45cm between rows (rather than 3 to 4 foot between rows as some seem to suggest).
In that case ... I agree with Bob ... I usually do
I have planted in rows in the past, but for the past couple of years mine are in a rectangular bed and are all over the place, crop seems to be fine.
I just let mine runner up where they like within a defined area, and then thin and pull out as needed in early spring. I'll usually top dress with some compost for the worms to pull down to the roots. Spacing is usually about six inches between plants. If I notice a large plant isn't putting up any flowers later in spring or summer, I'll pull it out and transplant a first year runner into it's place. I have two types growing, each to it's own end.. but they've most likely mixed a bit in the middle now. They both fruit around the same time.. so it doesn't really matter much.
I would recommend growing several types. If you purchase right, you can really extend your harvest season. Also, each variety has it's preferences, so you might find some do better than others in your site. Try some alpine strawberries too.. they are tiny, but each one packs as much flavor (or more) than many of the larger berries! They work great in pot, and even better in a hanging basket at eye level.