#Edible Forest Gardening 101
Strawberries don’t produce fruit if plagued by too many “runners.” Mine had gone mad this year due to a heavy helping of compost and bark mulch, and no attention or pruning; thus I’ve had almost no fruit, and instead been gifted with 200+ new strawberry plants! I have 15+ different cultivars of strawberry, but I don’t keep too much track over what is what, simply because they grow and spread so rapidly that I can’t be sure of my planting labels.
The runners have small nubbish roots, so by pruning each plantlet to 1-2 leaves, and wrapping the root ball in moist paper towel, I can encourage these proto-roots to develop into the real thing. I wrap trays of the cuttings in plastic, so that the aspiration of the leaves doesn’t result in too much water loss. The shock of being separated from the parent plant should induce chemical and hormonal changes in the plant, prompting it to root as quickly as possible.
Strawberries form excellent ground cover, and can be invasive if you let them take over an area. I am using them as a living mulch under fruit trees, and to line all of the pathways in the garden.
In food forest gardening, strawberries are a good choice for the soil surface layer of the biome:
Wikipedia: Forest gardening wiki. Diagram by Graham Burnett
The foliage of the plants traps water at the surface of the soil, retaining moisture for other plants (trees and shrubs) planted nearby. In the fall, their leaves provide mulch, which is converted into soil nutrition as it breaks down.
#edible landscaping #forest gardening #strawberries #mulch