Summer Progresses: Strawberries

I’ve planted at least 75 strawberry plants in our yard since we bought the house. The squirrels dig them up, so we don’t have 75 left, but the survivors are doing pretty well. We grow a mix of Shuksan, Firecracker & Quinault strawberries…. and the occasional alpine strawberry. Most of the berries are in a former flower bed near our back patio, so I check on them often. I greatly enjoy watching them through the seasons.

Our second-year harvest amazes me. Krista has made some amazing strawberry salads this week with organic mixed greens, balsamic vinegar, walnuts and crumbly cheeses. Last night we topped vanilla ice cream with strawberry slices and I sat with my nose over the bowl, inhaling the smell of summer. I’ve managed to keep the birds away this year with a combination of netting & a cat who naps in the strawberries. The slugs are eating too many berries, but the chickens don’t mind eating the ugly slug-nibbled strawberries. Then the chickens look like little feathered gladiators with blood (strawberry pulp) all over their faces. Adorable.

Strawberry crown (bare root) before planting.

The crowns grew into little strawberry plants. I nipped the flowers the first year.

The second-year plants made little flowers. Several species of bees visited the flowers. (not pictured)

Flowers grow into green berries.

Green berries turn red.

Red berries get picked & eaten — every day! Or they go south. This is the danger of growing delicate strawberry varieties.

It is fun to see our garden knit itself together and change over time. We have such an infinite “to do” list of projects for our little garden, it is important to take time to admire what we’ve accomplished in under two years. These strawberries are a metaphor, a delicious, delicious metaphor. I try not to think about how I want to dig up all these strawberries and move them! And someday I will grow enough berries to make strawberry jam from my backyard. I’m not sure that it’s possible on 1/5th of an acre, but I will try!

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3 Comments

Filed under garden, summer, urban farming

3 responses to “Summer Progresses: Strawberries

  1. It is totally possible! I think we figured our property to be one twentieth of an acre, and I put up some jam from our homegrown strawberries! And put five or six or seven pints of sliced berries in the freezer too! This after eating berries fresh till our tongues prickled! Also I am a tiny bit jealous that your berries are just coming in now — ours have been shot for what is in reality only a few weeks, but already feels like an eternity.

    • Fascinating! We have had berries for a week or more, but I just got around to blogging about them. The Shuksan went first. The firecrackers are mostly still green. The quinaults, well, they will be lucky to survive the year. They are new plants that have been dug up by the squirrels at least 5 times. So, do you know what varieties you are growing and/or how many plants you have? I need to check out your strawberry patch next time we hang out!

    • I just checked the A+ parcel search and my lot is .19 of an acre. I guess I need to plant more berries.

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