Feral Strawberries

StrawberryMy feral strawberries are heavy with ripe berries right now. I call them feral because they are not the true wild strawberries you find demurely tucked into the base of trees in the woods. There were domesticated strawberries at one point in time, but in an unprecedented bid for botanical freedom, them broke out of their garden bed confines and traveled who knows how far to settle (uninvited) in my front flower beds. It is there that they wreak general havoc and strawberry high jinks. They have not bit me yet, but still I remain leery of them.

I actively evict the strawberry plants in from my beds, but inevitably, I cave in and leave a few there in the hopes that there will be fruit at some point in time. Up until this year, this has not been the case. Previously, slugs and small critters managed to gnaw the berries before I could get to them.

That all changed this year.

I am not sure where the slugs have gone. Perhaps a friendly snake or toad has taken up residence and is feasting nightly. I do know where the small critters have gone. A new cat in the house seems to have sparked a new hobby in all of my cats, and that is genetic manipulation of the local small critter population.

If the small critter is not smart enough to recognize the danger in the sound of a cat bell, then it is removed from the general population, thus leaving only the more intelligent (or less hard of hearing) critters, who are smart enough to stay away from my garden. Evolution is a wonderful thing.

You can find strawberries in most parts of the world. Strawberries have grown for centuries in North and South America, Asia and Europe. They all started out as those tiny wild strawberries and it was by sheer chance that the modern hybrid strawberry got its start at all. A chance side by side planting of strawberry plants from both North and South America in 1700’s (or 1600’s depending on who you ask) resulted in cross pollination and a better strawberry. Gardeners, being the quick sort, realized that further crossing of species could result in even better fruit. Soon the race was on to breed a bigger strawberry.

We tend to think of strawberries as either ever bearing or June bearing, but in fact, that is like saying that tomatoes only come as determinate or indeterminate. Just as there are hundreds of tomato varieties, each with their own flavors and nuances, there are hundreds of strawberry varieties as well, each with their own personalities.

What kind mine are, I will never know as they were not kind enough to bring along their plant marker when they barged into my beds. But at least this year they have paid their rent by producing a few succulent and sweet strawberries.

11 thoughts on “Feral Strawberries
  1. I think I have a similar problem, except with feral tomatoes.

    This is the second year I’ve found little tomato plants shooting up all around my backyard. The tomatoes never grow very large. They group in clusters of exactly six. They don’t taste very good, either.

    Anyhow, can you write a post about how you keep stuff safe from rabbits?

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  2. Happy to hear that you actually got strawberries this year instead of the slugs and other critters – there really is nothing better than freshly picked strawberries. :)

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  3. Jenfu on

    If I ever have a band, I shall name it “Feral Strawberries.”

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  4. Ellie on

    I have feral wild strawberries in my front garden. Last year they cropped so much I made jam out of them. This year I went on holiday in what seems to have been the crucial week (last week), came back to a vast array of beautiful, sweet, large (by wild strawb standards) fruit, that was all gone the next morning when I went to pick it. D’oh.

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  5. I love Shel Silverstein!

    Feral strawberries, LOL! I wish they’d come my way. I can’t keep strawberries going to save my life. I suppose it’s possible we have the determinate (June) berries?? Although we buy berry plants that are supposed to do well in our area, they still suffer from our hot, hot summers. I think this is the last year we’re going to try.

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  6. I have feral strawberries, too. About two years ago I noticed them just as my husband was about to weed wack them. (Vile tool, that weed wacker.) I tend to let stuff grow that just pops up. I like to see what it might be and that philosophy has paid off with some lovely ground covers and beautiful indigenous plants.

    I took your test. I posted what flower I am on my site. You made it easy to post. Thanks!

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  7. Love you site! Been reading it for a while, and I think I’m gonna look into the rain barrels you posted about. Dig In!!

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  8. The only thing I seemed to manage this year was to create a nice bed for mine. It wasn’t planned but my wife dug up all the escaped strawberries and filled the only raised bed I finished this spring. They seem happy and are now busy sending runners out.

    I did have a nice treat the other day. An odd ant might have been eaten but the handfulls of wild strawberries made them taste great.

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  9. I didn’t know that the strawberries we know today are a hybrid of the N and S American ones. You learn something new everyday! I’d trade you my wild strawberries in my shade garden for yours that produce edible fruit. For that matter you could just have my wild ones!

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  10. I wonder if my raspberries are feral? We live in a small city, no wild berries nearby, so they may have been garden-bound at one time. Last year the birds ate them all before we could. Maybe this year we’ll be luckier…

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