|Strawberry shortcake with our|
Yes, we have strawberries—plenty of them. They’re all from the 25 plants I planted and blogged about in April 2012. There I revealed the radical idea that I would “follow directions” rather than plant them “my way” as I had in the past.
What’s my evaluation after the first year?
The Allstar plants are beautiful and healthy. I haven’t noticed any disease or major pest problems, though I did take precautions and sprinkled slug bait (iron phosphate pellets) twice since the plants began to fruit. Ants nibble holes in two or three berries a day. A family of catbirds has adopted the berry patch as their breakfast bar, but their damage hasn’t offended enough for me to install netting. I have not sprayed the strawberries with anything—organic or synthetic.
This morning I picked before the catbirds arrived and came in with three bowlfuls, probably four quarts, which I weighed on our kitchen scale: 8 pounds, 9 ounces. At that rate, we estimate we’ve harvested about 50 pounds so far. To this Frugal Gardener that’s a good deal because at the current you-pick rate at Butler’s Orchard, a large farm in nearby Montgomery County, our berries, at $2.59 a pound, would have cost $129.50. The plants last year cost $26.50.
The individual berries are bright red, firm, medium sized. They hold up well after picking, even if not refrigerated immediately. Plop one into your mouth and you’ll say, “Strawberry—yum.” I am slightly disappointed in that I felt compelled to end the previous sentence with a period and not an exclamation mark. The reason is that of the scores of varieties in the catalog, I chose Allstar, a variety that is not super sweet.
|Allstars make 18-inch borders of|
two of our raised vegetable beds
Yes, we have strawberries—plenty of them—and look forward to fruitful pickings of Allstars for another four or five years.