Sanwich beach strawberries have glossy green leaves.
image by Mike/wikimedia GNU License
Sandwich beach strawberries, herbaceous perennials that spread by both seeds and runners, grow wild along coastal areas from Alaska to South America and Hawaii. Prized for the intense flavor, these delicious berries are picked and served fresh in strawberry shortcake or used to make delicious strawberry jam. But you don't need to rely on nature for these tender morsels. They can be transplanted and grown in home gardens with minimal care. Seeds of similar cultivars are available from nurseries and seed catalogs but flavor is somewhat reduced.
Dig native beach strawberries in summer after the set of fruit. Include attached runners. Pot in a potting soil in a plant pot or other container and move to a hothouse or greenhouse. Keep soil evenly moist to allow plants to develop as strong root system.
Select a sunny location that receives six to eight hours of sunlight a day. Prepare a bed for strawberries by tilling the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Remove rocks and plant debris and amend the soil with compost or well-rotted manure.
Transplant to the garden in fall when the rainy season begins. Space the plants 10 inches apart. Runners will soon produce new plantlets that root increasing the bed of strawberries. Water when soil is dry and apply ½ strength fertilizer once a month.
Guide new runners to the preferred area. Pin in place loosely with a floral pin or U shaped wire until plantlets root. When plants become overcrowded, move young plants to a new bed. Division is generally required every 3-4 years.
Use floating row cover or protective netting to keep birds and wildlife from harvesting your berries before you get a chance.