Yesterday I had a chance to tidy up the strawberry leaves, weed the bed and get rid of unwanted old growth
I usually pick up all the dead leaves and also prune most of the leaves that are left down to the crown of the strawberry plants. I also make sure the crown is not below the soil level and raise the plants ever so slightly but not so far as to uproot them (and only if necessary). This helps stop the crowns rot.
Normally I would then apply a layer of straw underneath the strawberries to protect them from the coldest weather but this year I’ve decided to experiment with a different mulch and use flax straw (Linum usitatissimum). You can buy a sack of flax straw from any agricultural supplier and it’s relatively cheap.
One of the main reasons for using this as a substitute for ordinary straw is our wet climate here in Wales I’ve realised that the straw breaks down quickly and also exacerbates grey mold on the fruit and using wool mulch is a bit too heavy. Flax straw does not absorb much moisture or rot quickly, it is fine enough for the plants to take root in and it can also prevent small insects like aphids from attacking the plants because its light colouring it tricks them into thinking that the mulch is a body of water rather than land
I’m pretty happy so far that it’s doing it’s job but will update again later in the season
Important tip: Remember that mulch in the garden is as vital as gravy on our Sunday lunch… it’s vital! So get mulching flat out between now and the spring