Garden successes are celebratory events. We get happy and tell friends that such and such did great this year. And we hand out the excess produce to whoever will take it.
But when something does NOT do well, and you’ve tried everything: a new location, more compost, some manure, or whatever you think is needed, even going so far as getting the soil tested, well that’s kind of hard to take. Things reach a point when you just have to admit defeat and move on to other stuff.
And that’s how it went with strawberries. It reached a crisis point just this year. We’ve been trying to grow strawberries for several years. In trying to find the right place for them there are now three different varieties in three separate areas. Each type in each area- unproductive. Well... there were enough last year to make one small batch of jam. But this year? Only a few to nibble on. The strawberries tasted a little too sour, many had slug damage, and they were not growing abundantly. You know that kind of abundance when plants are obviously happy and healthy? Fruitful and size-able? It just wasn’t happening for the strawberries.
AND if that wasn’t enough, the chipmunks took to them. Those wasteful chippies! They left half eaten berries, some picked but not bit into, all of them not quite ripe, strewn everywhere! (If only we had a cat...!)
But disapointment or not this still ends happy. It turned out to be a win win. Chippie got to keep munching on strawberries, and us? Well no problem. We went up the road to the nearest “U-Pick”, bought us a couple of picking boxes, and picked our boxes full of beautiful, bright, red, juicy and sweet strawberries. In very little time we had enough berries to put away for the winter, and had enjoyed chatting with other pickers. It was fun!
And now to reconfigure the use of garden space. Oh, we will keep at least one of the strawberry beds. Most likely the one in the dead pine planter (more on this in another blog post), but most of the space will be reclaimed for fruits that do better, or veggies, or ... whatever.
We are proud of ourselves, partly for helping to support the local economy. But also for successfully moving on. Next year we will be back at the U-Pick- we’re saving the boxes. -jmm