Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Last Strawberry

This morning Ed and I were up early picking peas, asparagus, and strawberries before the children woke up. We only got two quart of berries and since there was barely any unripe berries left in the patch, we decided to call the strawberry season over.

We picked 68 quart of berries, the best year we've ever had. It seems a shame to get rid of the patch but it is over five years old and getting weedy. We had started a new patch at another location early this spring. We will till this patch and plant a late patch of beans or corn.

When I had described our patch as "small" in an earlier post, a reader asked how big our patch was. I thought it was 25 feet long but my husband tells me my estimation was off. I got out the measuring tape and discovered it is actually 42 feet long! Maybe you wouldn't consider that so small!

Five or six years ago, we bought 25 plants for about $10.00. We planted one row of berries. After a couple years, the row had grown very wide. We tilled down the center of the row to rejuvenate the patch and form two rows. If the patch had not become weedy (or more accurate thistlely!) We could have again rejuvenated the patch by tilling up the mother plants and allowing the runners to form new rows.

Not every year was as good as this one. Two years, a critter (we guess deer) ate about half the patch in early spring. The plants survived and regrew but did not produce berries that year. Most years we picked about 40 quart. We've never had any damage from disease and have never sprayed the patch. Besides weeding and picking, they have taken very little attention. Last year, when the berries were finished, we actually planted sweet corn over the berry plants. From this spring's results, it sure doesn't seem to have hurt them and it was a great way to maximize our garden space.

Can you think of a better return on a ten dollar bill?

8 comments :

  1. Wow! That is the best 10.00 investment I have heard in a long time!

    What a blessing!

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  2. Sounds like a great (and tasty) return-on-investment to me! Enjoy those last strawberries.

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  3. When you mentioned your patch got too wide, when did you till down the middle? Right after they stopped producing, or in early fall? Ours is also too wide, but it's a younger patch...we didn't know any better...lol...and let them send forth a lot of runners.

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  4. I really enjoy your blog and check it nearly every day!

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  5. Lorraine-
    As soon as the strawberries were finished for the season, we mow off the plants. This helps to keep down disease. If you want to thin your plants, this is the time to do it. We like to fertilize the plants good and make sure they are watered well. They will soon grow back better then before! Hope that makes sense!
    Gina

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  6. Gina,

    Thank you so much! That makes a lot of sense! That's what we'll do.

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  7. Impressive totals Gina!! You're patch is inspirational and I have 75 plants on order (a 3 variety season extender deal). I can't wait to have my own berries :D

    And I LOVE the idea of using the area for corn after the harvest- now that's utilizing the land!!

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  8. I sent out one of my boys to pick berries and he brought in about a pint so I guess ours are about finished too. We got so much rain that the last picking yielded several water-logged ones that weren't good for anything. Now we'll move on to enjoying fresh veggies.

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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