I thought it was time that I dealt with the strawberry runners. I started with the new strawberry bed - the one that wasn't really planned - the one that came about because I couldn't resist potting up runners last year!
We've only had one or two strawberries from here as they took a while to get going. Rather than carry out any major surgery, I just cut off all the runners from these plants and hoed between them.
Hopefully they will continue to grow and become stronger plants for next year. Flamenco - the everbearing variety - does have flowers and immature fruit but I'm not expecting these to ripen or grow to a decent size.
The other bed needed more serious attention. As is their habit the plants had produced a mass of runners which thanks to the weed control fabric hadn't been able to root into soil. It's been an unexpected bonus of covering the ground around the plants. The mature leaves were dying back and new ones were emerging from the crown and so each plant was given the scissors treatment. All the old leaves were cut off allowing light and air to the new young shoots.
Some gardeners take shears to the plants to carry out this task but I prefer the extra control that scissors provide allowing me to more easily avoid cutting the new shoots.
The new growth should add vigour to the plants and should - weather permitting - mean a good crop next year.
You may have noticed that one section of the bed has avoided the chop. These are Flamenco - the everbearing plants. As these are still producing flowers, they may provide us with one or two more fruits before the season ends. For this reason I have replaced the protective netting.
Oh! and just in case you are wondering - I did manage to resist potting up any runners this year.
We are still managing to crop some strawberries - the alpines are still fruiting prolifically.
We're sharing these with the blackbirds. Alpines don't produce runners but self seed freely if any strawberries fall to the ground before picking or being eaten by the blackbird. I guess blackbird activity is the reason that some small plants spring up in other parts of the plot.
Still on the subject of runners - I had a pleasant surprise when I was wandering round the plot - I noticed some fully grown runner beans at the very bottom of the Painted Lady teepee.
At first I thought maybe there was just one or two but I ended up picking a couple of helpings' worth.
I think the beans beat the strawberry runners and take the gold medal for allotment runners so it's silver to the strawberry runners but I'm afraid that in spite of that this year they have all ended up on the compost heap! I really don't think a third strawberry bed is desirable however much we love strawberries.