I had a good crop of strawberries this year. As you can see my strawberry bed is getting pretty crowded. There is actually stepping stones in there but you can't see them cause the runners have taken over.
I read that you should thin out your berries in late fall or early spring to get ready for the following year. I was contemplating how to do this. I just had surgery on my foot so I am still not very mobile but I really wanted to get out there and get this done before winter. I cover my berries with straw as well to protect them from the really cold temperatures we get here in Iowa.
One suggestion I had was to run the tiller down the bed. This would get rid of a section of plants and give the remaining plants room to spread out. Since I have a my bed enclosed this would require taking down part of the fencing as well as moving the boards that we used to keep them contained.
I could have also gone through the bed and picked individual plants and manually thinned them out. Since we haven't had any rain and the ground was bone dry this would have been really difficult not to mention very time consuming.
What I ended up doing was raking the entire bed with a metal rake. I couldn't believe the amount of debris I raked out. It also would rake up some of the runners and plants themselves. It seemed to do the trick and it made a huge difference. I am hoping this will be enough to thin out the plants and give them room to expand in the spring. I am still in my early years of growing strawberries. The goal of course is to have a good crop of nice large berries. Now that the patch is thinned out, it's time to cover with straw and say goodbye till Spring.
I am curious to know how do you thin out your strawberry beds?