Enjoying a later than usual strawberry harvest prompts me to plan for next year’s succulent goodies.

There are three options: keep plants fit and healthy so they’ll offer more of the same next year; take runners to give you free plants; or buy new stock.

After four years strawberry plants become small and stunted and produce dry little berries as they become infected by viruses

If you’re growing in special strawberry planters, remove plants and compost and start afresh. In the open ground, chuck the old strawberries and use a different bed for the next crop.

There are many strawberry viruses carried by nematodes, aphids, hands and tools, and even young plants may be infected. Plants tolerate one attack but a second infection from a different species of virus is devastating. The soil can be contaminated so shouldn’t be used for another four years.

Preparing young plants for another harvest entails removing any organic mulch, like straw, as this may rot the crowns as the straw breaks down.

Take away and compost any strawberry mats as they will gradually decay and harbour pests. Force strawberries to grow more strongly by removing the forest of runners that they keep throwing out.

Once the harvest is over, cut all the foliage back to about 10cm, leaving plants with virtually no leaves. But don’t worry, they’ll quickly throw up fresh young growth.

If you want new plants to increase the size of the crop or use for a fresh bed, take runners from healthy young plants.

Allow the mother plants to produce only one runner which will produce buds around 10-12cm away from the mother.

The runner would naturally keep growing, producing lots of new plants, so nip it off immediately beyond the first new leaf buds.

Dig a small hole for a 7cm pot, fill with compost and peg the runner on the surface inside the pot.

Within a few weeks you’ll have a healthy young plant that will bear fruit next year.

Then cut the runner and either let it grow in the pot or move to a new place.

Plant of the week

Rose ‘Lyda’ is a repeat flowering, modern shrub rose, growing to about a metre in height and spread. Large clusters of deep pink buds open to fragrant, pink edged white flowers with huge central clusters of stamens that are super attractive to bees.

Single flowered roses are great for pollinators: both bumblebees and honey bees look as if they are rolling around amongst the stamens to fill their pollen baskets. If not deadheaded ‘Lyda’ will produce good hips in autumn.

The foliage is a dark, vibrant green and very healthy and the plant will tolerate poorer soils, so no need to fret about complicated rose care.