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I have a batch of strawberry plants originally bought in 2008.  At present, they seem more intent on making runners than fruiting.  They had produced good fruit before, but lately, it is just runners.  Am I seeing a response to a nutrient deficiency, or is it time to replace these guys?

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Could just be the type you have.  Strawberries come in Everbearing (2 - 3 crops a year), June (spring) Bearing (one big crop in the spring), and Day Neutral (produce smaller fruit all year round).  June bearing produce the best fruit, but only once a year and they put out a bunch of runners.  Could be what you have?


Without fail every time I grow strawberries the time to pull them out has been when they get attached by spider mites...which ALWAYS happens 

I am NOT an expert (on anything really) but I've heard that strawberries produce fruit the first year and runners after. the runner should produce fruit their first year (I would guess). I left my strawberries in the little pots they came in from Ace. I buried them about an inch down so in the media (constant flood and drain) which keeps the dirt moist. I haven't had success putting them directly into the media, but that could easily be user error. So far, they ( and my datil peppers) are the healthiest looking plants in my garden. Many others have attracted and succumb to spider mites, but mine are holding strong (knock on wood).

I've grown a lot of various variates in my AP system.  I haven't been a big fan of the ever-bearings.  They produce fairly small fruit and I rater get all my berries at once so I can freeze them in larger batches.

The life cycle is usually to take a new plant in the spring and plant it so that the crown of the plant is well above the growing media...the plant can rot if it's too low.  During the first growing season it will product a few berries.  If there are any suckers, snip them off.  You want all the energy to go into the plants.  (some people also snip off the flowers too so that all the energy goes into the plant).

The plant should go dormant during the winter.  The next spring the plant will produce it's fruit.  During the fruiting period, you can remove any runners.  When you're about done with the fruit you can let the runners start to grow.  If you're growing in a tower, the runners will get leaves and little roots...when they're around 1/2" in length, you should make sure the runners are in some media.  Don't cut the runner until the new baby is establish (usually the fall).

 Let the new clone go dormant over the winter and you start the cycle all over again.  The old plant can still produce fruit the next season, usually not as many as the previous year.  I usually throw out all the mature plants.

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