Year after year we have a strawberry patch in pots. It works out well, they hang over the edge of the pots, clean and bug free. But after seeing all the dedicated strawberry fields out at the community garden, I knew we needed more, we needed the real deal, I wanted bowls of organic and delicious berries! There were bumps and starts. We planted early, in mounds of compost. Lesson #1, they dried out easily because there was not enough soil mixed in. Lesson #2, we used the organic looking burlap instead of plastic. But the burlap lets the rollie pollies come up and nibble half the berry right off…thousands of them!
There are also quite elaborate enclosures with a lot of netting. That is not my favorite…but there is a lot of wildlife and berries are on the top of the list for many. I picture a little squirrel having a nice time on this berry. Or maybe a mouse. Sometimes they are plucked off and dropped a few feet away…such a waste! That is probably a crow. This one cracked me up, it’s like they are taking bites and looking back and forth, bits flying out the their mouth as they keep a look out for the hawk flying around…
The plants themselves, though look awesome. They are healthy and have lots of fruit on them. There are still quite a few sacrificed to various critters, though that seems to have slowed down a bit. The pea trellis was placed over the patch and that seems to help a little. Right now in the garden, there is plenty of ripe and perfect fruit to bring home a bowl full several times a week! And they are really sweet and perfect.
I have dug up several plants for the south facing wall of strawberries outside the kitchen. They transplant nicely and it’s great to have ripe fruit just steps from the cereal bowl. I am putting straw (hence the name) around the inside of the pot to support the berries to the edge and to keep them out of the dirt. Strawberries do not like hot roots, so it can be a challenge to keep them cool enough without water logging the fruit. We have experimented with one plant and over watered the heck out of it to taste the difference in the berry. The kids now understand that the plants can handle the stress of drying out a bit, and the end result is more tasty!
While our strawberry patch does not have the tallest and most robust foliage, or the biggest berries, it is deemed a huge success by our tasters!! The plants I brought home needed to be rescued from the garden bed because of gophers. That’s a story in and of itself, which I’ll save for another day!