Anyone who has been to a pick your own knows that a fresh picked ripe strawberry goes straight on to ”the last taste I want to remember before I die” short list. Right up there with cornish clotted crean vanilla ice cream with lashing of hot chocolate sauce, fried christmas pud, tarte tatin, sticky toffee pud and …..
Many who have been to a pick your own have wondered why there are so many more strawberries in a PYO row than there are in the average strawberry bed at home. My dad used to because, embarassingly, although we grew our own strawberries we never had enough for her indoors to make jam with.
What is interesting is how few people who go to a PYO notice HOW THE STRAWBERRIES ARE GROWN…
Unlike your bed at home, where they are nicely spaced out, professional growers cultivate strawberry plants in “matted rows”.
It goes like this. Plant your strawberry plants at wider spacings than usual. In rows about 100 cms apart with about 30-40 cms between plants in the row. Let the plants establish and put out runners. Peg the runners down but keep them close to the parent so you create a very densely populated row about 50-60 cms wide. Weeding is a bit of a pain, although there are fewer weeds as the “mat” thickens up, but the yield will be several times higher than off a conventional strawberry bed.