It is a surprisingly beautiful weekend here in the great land of Cleveland. While I had thought sure that winter was going to be moving in any moment, instead we have had a glorious and prolonged Indian summer. Which is nice because it gives me the chance to clean out my garden beds. You would think that mean pulling weeds, but in reality, this means pulling strawberries.
I don’t know how the strawberries ever got into my front flower beds. I certainly did not plant them, though now I suspect that it is a nefarious revenge planned on me by some evil individual. Oh sure. Strawberries look innocent, but in good, friable soil they turn into a force to be reckoned with.
I routinely pull up dozens of strawberry plants from my flower beds. And what is worse, they have that same magical ability as deers to charm even as they are causing you to curse. Every time I am weeding the damn things, I find myself dutifully placing them in another pile so that I can find another person to pass the pain onto.
I think the problem is that strawberries are useful and deliciousÂ plants. Dandelions and purslane may be edible, but they fall into the “your mother told you to eat your greensâ€ category so the 8 year old in your head reassures you that thowing them in the compost is not a bad thing. Strawberries are like candy. I feel as though I am throwing away a potential bon-bon. Only crazy people throw away candy, at least that is what my inner child tells me.
Even more evidence that strawberry plants can addle the brains is the fact that I also intentionally leave a few plants in the bed because I romantically think that I will be able to pick a few berries next year to nibble on. I think this despite the fact that I know that the damndable slugs will get to the berries before I do because there is no barrier between the berries and the ground.
The one thing I can walk away from this is that if I ever wanted to grow a strawberry patch, I will know exactly what I need:
how to grow a strawberry patch
- Start with good soil. Soil that is full of organic material and is loose seems to be something they like.
- Have good drainage. My front yard is actually elevated over my neighbors so my whole front yard is like a raised bed and has good drainage. I have read that professional strawberry farmers often have raised mounds or beds for their strawberries.
- Direct the runners. The runners are designed to be rappelling land seekers, able to jump over and down barriers. Placing runners where you want the to grow will prevent problems like strawberries growing in your lawn (which I now have).
- Protect the berries. Legend has it that the name strawberry comes from the fact that people like to protect the berries from slugs and pests by surrounding the plants with straw. This actually does work and will protect your own berries.
And now I am going to return to the great outdoors and finish removing my own accidental strawberry patch. Anybody need to get back at a gardening nemesis? I have need of a couple dozen strawberry plants I could send you.