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!