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Strawberry Picking: How Do They Grow Such Huge Berries?


We used to have a large strawberry garden, but it was continually over run by weeds so we gave it to our chickens.  Two of the children-our 6yo and our 8yo- transplanted many of the plants to a new, smaller location and have been caring for them.  Even after the trauma of being transplanted, some of the plants are giving us berries, but not many, and only small ones.


So, we all wanted to visit a strawberry farm, and last Saturday we did.  After we got our ice cream pails weighed at the house, our van slithered down the usual bumpy, muddy strawberry farm road to the day’s picking field.  Even from the van, we could see the red berries peeking through the leaves!  And such lovely leaves and plants!  Each plant and each berry was easily double the size of ours at home!  


One of the children in charge of our own wee patch commented soberly that they must use better compost than we do.  “They probably use cow manure!”  she concluded.


Indeed, they do something that we don’t, and this year we want to find out what it is.  For starters, when our tiny strawberry crop is finished, we will apply our own compost to the patch.  Even though it doesn’t contain cow manure, it is very good compost, made of garden scraps, kitchen scraps, chicken bedding, and our neighbour’s sugar maple leaves. 


We will also keep up with the weeding, which is easy to forget as summer wears on.  We did notice that there were no grasses in the commercial patch; I’m sure they must use one of those herbicides that kill only grass-type plants.  Our main weeds are grasses, and they are difficult to eradicate — especially when occasionally the lawn mower blows grass seed from an overgrown lawn all over the garden.


And then we’ll ask people, we’ll use google, and we’ll read to determine why our berries are so much smaller and often misshapen.  Hopefully we will find organic solutions and have luscious berries at home next year.  If we find any solutions, we’ll pass them on to you.  Please, if you have any answers, share them with us.


Back to the strawberry farm.  It only took us about 20 minutes to fill 8 ice cream pails to overflowing with the sweet red berries!    Most of those we froze in small packages to eat with yoghurt in the winter, but we saved a gallon for eating and to make French Strawberry Pie.


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