This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
ABOUT the first to twentieth of June the runners of the strawberry will be in a good condition to pot. One who has never tried this best of all plans to get thrifty plants for a new bed, would be astonished at the excellent success which would attend his •efforts in this direction. Plants propagated in this way can be put out at any time during August or the three succeeding months, or can be left in the bed until the following spring, and turned out in a well prepared plat, and bear quite a nice little crop of excellent berries the same spring. I confess to being an enthusiast on this mode of producing strawberry plants, but the marvelous success which has always attended my efforts, created that enthusiasm. It is nice, light, delicate work, and affords the amateur cultivator a most delightful recreation from the office, workshop or counting room. Any pottery will sell you small, two-inch pots for about a cent each, and these will last for many years, with only a small per cent of breakage.
Get as many of them as you desire, and procure a lot of fine leaf mould or other light, rich material, fill the pots even full, and after the runners throw out plants, plunge your pot in the bed at a point convenient to a runner, lay it on and place a small stone or clod on it to keep it in place. In a few weeks the pot will be a net work of roots, and a fine plant will be in it. The straw which connects the plant in the pot with the parent plant must not be cut until you are ready to set out your plant, unless you design keeping them over until spring; in which event you should sever all of them after active growth has ceased. When you get ready to transplant, turn the pot upside down, and give the bottom a strong tap or two with your hand, and the plant, earth and all, will come out in a moulded form, precisely the shape and size of the pot. Now make a hole with your garden trowel the size of your pot, set it in, pour a tea cup of water around it, and draw dry dirt up, being careful to have your plant no deeper than it grew in the pot. No shading will be required - your plants will not wilt; and if you do this work in the fall, no weeds will be in your bed. Place straw an inch or two deep between rows and plants, and your work is done for that year, and until after fruiting the next.
You will get at least a third of a crop of nice fruit the first season after planting thus, without any work. The following year, keep off all runners, and keep the ground well stirred. If you desire to have ripe fruit a few weeks in advance of the general season, put your potted plants, about the middle of August, into six-inch pots (transplanting them from the small ones) and before cold weather sets in place them in a green-house, conservatory or pit, for winter protection, and about the first of February following, make a good hot-bed two and a-half feet deep, placing six inches of soft, light earth on top of the fresh manure, and in this plunge your pots to the rim, in rows about a foot apart each way, and cover over with glazed sash, putting matting or old carpets over the glass in very cold weather and at night, and give air and tepid water occasionally on warm days. You can then eat strawberries a month or more in advance of the usual time. Stanford, Ky. Woodman.