strawberry fields forever (or at least the month of june)

fresh strawberries from the front yard

fresh strawberries from the front yard

The strawberries are on.  My are they ever.  My fiance was adamant when we bought the strawberries months ago that I get June bearing exclusively.  And now I understand why he did.  We’ve grown ever-bearing on apartment patios before and the take was maybe two a day.  Just enough to spur your appetite but not nearly enough to satisfy it.  This is something else altogether.

I have taken to heading straight for the strawberry patch as soon as I get home from work – before I’ve checked the mail or even opened the door you’ll see me doubled over in my business clothes rooting through the strawberry patch before my fiance can get home and beat me to them.  We keep talking about making jam but so far I can’t say too many strawberries have made it as far as the kitchen.  Most are devoured right there, warm from the sun.

It’s only common sense that homegrown strawberries are going to taste better than something flown in half-ripe from California.  But I had no idea how much better they were going to taste.  No crunch, no nothing.  Just pure sweet-tart melting juicy goodness.  Heaven.  All of that weeding seems like an easy trade for such a glorious treat.

We planted the variety kent.  Apparently it’s susceptible to disease but we’ve notice no problems so far.  Strawberries are perennial, meaning that they will come back year after year.  They also send out runners much like those beloved spider plants my mum always grew on top of the fridge, and just like the spider plant all those little runners will become new baby plants; my patch will get bigger!  After the harvest is done the whole patch can simply be mowed, not super-low – don’t scalp them, just sheer them off so they won’t rot over the winter and encourage disease.  Mulch them and with a little luck, come next June I’ll be bottom up in the berries again.  Some varieties will last longer than others, but be aware there will come a point where you’re going to want to offer them to the compost heap and start your patch anew.

Our strawberry patch is a good size – probably 2 x 8 feet, but even the great big handful a day I am getting is not going to satisfy me now – I am hooked.  I will be out this weekend – the official start of strawberry season in search of even larger fields – in order to stockpile both freezer and cupboards with strawberry goodness.

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