By Eleanor Jewell

If you have an old brick or stone wall on your property, but do not find the cracks and crevices appealing, don’t despair. Crevice planting can breathe new life into a tired wall. Perennials such as strawberry plants can fill up the crevices, adding color, beauty and character. Best of all, crevice-grown strawberries will yield you a bountiful harvest year after year when planted in your wall after the threat of frost has passed in the springtime.

Dig-out any packed soil, weeds or debris presently growing within the wall using a small gardening shovel. Refill the crevices with a light airy soil, such as bagged organic potting soil.

Form a depression in the middle of the soil filled crevice using your hands. The depression should measure the size of the strawberry plants’ root balls.

Slip the strawberry plants out of their nursery containers. Deposit one strawberry plant in each hole. Back-fill the holes around the strawberry plants, patting the soil afterward to remove air pockets.

Water the strawberry plants deeply after planting. If you water deeply enough you will notice the water running through the soil and down the crevices of the wall. Water the strawberries with a garden hose at least once a week, maintaining moist soil for the duration of the growing season.

Apply a water-soluble fertilizer to the crevice grown strawberry plants, following manufacturer’s instructions. Most strawberries appreciate a dose of fertilizer at planting and another immediately after harvest.

Harvest the strawberries after the first bloom. Look for plump, bright red berries. If the strawberries contain white spots, they are not yet mature enough to pick.

Cut the strawberries to the soil line in the late fall, just before the winter frost. Use a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears to cut the strawberry plants. Cover the soil with a loose layer of mulch to protect the strawberry plants over the winter.

Remove the mulch and resume the previous care in the spring.

Do not over water the strawberry plants. Keep the soil moist, not wet, at all times. Press your fingers into the soil before each watering. If the soil feels moist, do not add more water.