"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Everbearing Strawberries - The Gift That Keeps On Giving


Please excuse me while I brag a bit...

We are in strawberry heaven, the tomatoes might be found wanting this year but the strawberries are making up the difference...not that one can really compare the two. We grow an extremely hardy everbearing strawberry plant that provides us with multiple crops of sweet berries and are thrilled with it's ability to set fruit in colder temperatures while at the same time producing numerous runners. Last year we grew one all by itself just to see how many new plants could be produced and by the end of the season counted over 60 babies. Babies begat babies that had begat baby plants...talk about vigorous reproduction. I took a picture of the whole sordid affair but of course I can't find it.

The first berries, while extremely numerous, are not very large but subsequent crops can be quite big, maybe 2-3 times the size of the originals. I will try to post pictures of them later this summer, but only if they really do look 3 times bigger....my wife says I tend to exaggerate a bit - perhaps I'll let you be the judge.:)

Unfortunately, the berries my wife is holding in the above picture were picked after a good rain last Tuesday night, we try to pick them before it rains if at all possible as wet weather tends to bloat the berries and take away some of that sweetness we so desire. Regardless, they still taste plenty fine going into smoothies and other tasty treats...it's raining again this Tuesday but we picked last night and the berries were much better.

These strawberry plants have been growing on our property for many, many years, originally given to us by my Mom who grew them before that...and as such have had adequate time to adapt quite well to our conditions, making them very special to my wife and I. We do love our Fort Laramie everbearing strawberry plants.

49 comments:

GrafixMuse said...

Oh wow! Your strawberries photos are absolutely beautiful. We love strawberries and I want to grow some soon. I am in zone 5, what kind you are growing or is there a variety that you would recommend?

Phoebe said...

That is AMAZING! I'd love to have a go at strawberries this year... Do you have any cultivation advice?

Anne said...

They look great! Can't beat fresh picked strawberries.

You Can Call Me Jane said...

How wonderful! Enjoy!

Mike said...

That looks great! We have gotten a few cups so far, nothing to brag about. We are going to let a section take over a whole 4x16ft bed. Hoping for more!

Engineeredgarden said...

OMG! When I grow up, I wanna be just like you. :)

Mrs. Mac said...

Those look mighty tasty! Save me a few baby runners if you have any :) My June berries are producing well this year too .. they have to get covered up with a floating row cover or the birds have breakfast all day long.

~Holly~ said...

Wowzas! That is some strawberry haul!! Congrats!

Heiko said...

I believe the best strawberries are cool climate straws. So much tastyier. Us with a hot year, our in theory ever producing plants have taken a break. I might have to feed them a bit too. But I remember that English straws were always much better than anything I can grow here.

...and as far as similarity between tomatoes and straws is concerned: my Dad always eats his tomatoes with sugar and maintains they taste just like strawberries. Rather him then me though...

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

A wonderful year of strawberries at your garden corner! After a few years those strawberries had amazingly adapted to your climate. Last summer was tomato year for us. Previous was pepper and eggplants. Don't know what next summer will bring. Its all depend on what mother earth wants for next summer.I wonder how many strawberry jams will be in your pantry this year.

Orangespear's Oasis said...

im so jealous. those look awesome!

Robin said...

Now that's something to brag about! I have strawberry envy!

Oxray Farm said...

Awesome! I have a similar type that grows best in late Aug/Sept. But it starts early and small, but by the end they are a good size berry! I planted a second raised bed with all the baby's mine kept begetting too.

I've never noticed about the rains changing the sweetness, now I'll have to pay attention.

Mr. H. said...

GrafixMuse - The Fort Laramie
berries that we grow would be a nice addition to your garden and thrive in your cooler climate.

Phoebe - My advice is to provide your plants with plenty of water, but not too much, and keep them weed free as much as possible. It really helps if they are replaced with new baby plants every third year as well...keeps production levels up.

Anne - Anything is better than those chemical laden horrors they sell at the grocery store. Fresh from the garden is indeed best.:)

Jane - We are, we are.:)

Mike - A 4 x 16 patch would be nice and provide you with lots and lots of berries.

EG - Me too you, I could have used that brain of yours the other day while trying to fix the lawn mower.

Mrs. Mac - You are welcome to get some plants from us when ever you want and we will have lots of new ones this fall or next spring or anytime. I am really surprised that the birds have left ours alone this year...they came and ate all our honeyberries but no one seems to want any strawberries.

Holly - Our best year ever.

Heiko - My mom insists on putting sugar on her tomatoes too, drives me crazy. northern Idaho is a good place for strawberries, our back woods are just full of wild ones..I have found about 4 different kinds growing in the woods this year, hope they don't cross with our garden variety...or maybe they have already.:)

Malay-Kadazan Girl - It is always interesting to see how different years effect different crops. Our best tomato year was in 2009, last year was a great year for beets and carrots...this year, we shall see.:)

Orangespear's Oasis - Thanks, they are a pretty nice variety of berry.

Robin - I have to have soemthing to brag about this year...everything else is growing oh so slow.:)

Mr. H. said...

Oxray - Yes, the rains really do take away some of the flavor if you pick the berries right afterwords. Do you know what variety of berry you are growing, they sound very similar to ours?

Daphne said...

I'm growing some everbearers for the first time this year. I'm really happy to be picking berries for breakfast every day. I do wish I had enough for jam though. But I will next year when the June bearers fruit. I've been filling in the area with all the runners too, but now I have to pinch them all off so they don't over crowd the place.

Jane said...

Wow, that is a beautiful site. There really is nothing like a fresh home grown strawberry. Enjoy!

6512 and growing said...

Drooling here.

Our strawberries (2nd year) are kind of poking along, popping out fruit all casually when they feel like it. And the kids pounce on each ripe berry immediately, which is just perfect. Go kids, go!

villager said...

Tomatoes or strawberries - that's a tough call. I do love both of them. Looks like all that begating made for a lot of yummy looking strawberries!

Rain is hard on the berries, that's for sure. When I grew them for sale, I always hoped for a lot of rain when they were sizing up, then no rain while they ripened. Of course it rarely worked out that way!

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

Those are some beautiful berries..and to think they just keep giving and giving ..

granny said...

The strawberries look delish! And you have so many !! :0)
Our strawberry season has just started here..yes,in Winter,Lol...
Will you be making jam ??

Ayak said...

Those strawberries look absolutely gorgeous. I'll swop for some of my grapes!

contadina said...

What a strawberry fest and you really can't beat the straight from the garden. If your wife is anything like me though, the haul might have been twice the size - quality control being an important part of strawberry picking ;-)

Mark Willis said...

If only all fruit was as easy to propagate!

Mr. H. said...

Daphne - Nothing better than strawbrries for breakfast. Sounds like you have a great plan with both types of berries going.

Jane - Yes, they truly are best when you grow your own.

6512 and Growing - Our grandson is the same way, loves his strawberries...and cherries, I don't think I have ever had a cherry off our little sweetheart cherry tree, he eats them all.:)

Villager - When we did that little begatting experiment I was really surprised at how many new plants were formed...some of our little wild alpine strawberries produce even more prolifically.

Ginny - They really do give and give and give....wish you were closer I would give some berries to you.:)

Granny - Fresh strawberries in the middle of winter, now that would be quite the treat. We will probably wait to see how the wild huckleberries are this year and hopfully make jam out of them rather than the strawberries...we shall see. We still have jam left over from last year.:)

Ayak - Now that would be a good trade as those grapes look so good.:)

Contadina - Between the two of us and the flock of chickens waiting on the other side of the fence for their share we are lucky to get any to the house.:)

Mark - Your telling me, I have spent way to much time tryig to propagate our honeyberries, and other fruits this year with limited success.

kitsapFG said...

I definitely am going to add some Fort Laramie strawberries to the garden either this fall or next spring. They really sound ideally suited to my climate and looking at your beautiful and bountiful harvests is the clincher!

Veggie PAK said...

Gosh! They look SO good! You all have done a great job with these!

Mr. H. said...

Laura - This has been without a doubt the best year we have ever had for strawberries. I think/hope this variety will suite your garden really well.

Veggie PAK - As long as we keep them weeded, watered, and picked they do most of the work.:)

Oxray Farm said...

The berry's we grow are called TriStar we ordered them from Raintree Nursery in early spring of 08. The first year we picked all the blooms off of them so they would get well established. But every year since they grow like weeds, always better later in the summer... go figure? I did try a June bearer called EarliGlow but they were a total bust I think in the 2 years we only got a handful from the whole bed. We yanked them out and replaced them with the babies of the TriStar. This is the first producing year having 2 beds of strawberries! Yahoo!

Diane@Peaceful Acres Farm said...

Beautiful Berries M&M! It never ceases to amaze me how far behind us in a growing season you are. I know that once you've been there for so long just like your berries, you've learned to adapt. It would take me the rest of my life adapting to live out of Zone 7! I'm just starting to see some of my new tomatoes ripen! I'll let you know how they do.

Buttons said...

Oh I love this. Berries from Mom are super special. They are beautiful berries and yes it is OK to brag. My garden is only producing Kale it is so hot and dry.
I can almost taste those tasty berries. Great photos. I am sure you are enjoying them as I sit here dreaming of them. B

Wendy said...

Well, that is certainly something to brag about!

I must admit my strawberries were pretty darn good for my little garden too - I sort of think it was a one-hit wonder though - we'll see how year three fares...

I read this berry book that said they should be mowed down after they're done producing. This makes me nervous. Do you take this kind of measure?

Kimberly @ We Call Her Momma said...

Oh my, do those berries look good. We have some tinie tiny ones last year. They were super sweet. This year's crop has been a failure.
This year's weed is chard and artichokes.
We were up your way the first week of June. Beautiful country you live in.

E said...

Since strawberries reproduce by runners/clones I wonder how they can adapt?

They look great!

Granola Girl said...

I've never been too thrilled with everbearing berries, but with a recommendation such as yours I might have to look into them a bit more.

This year we sliced ours into "coins" and dehydrated them. They were SO good. Knowing how much you all dehydrate, I thought I'd let you know. We make fruit brittle too, but these are much more snackible.

I think gardeners are a bit like fisherman, we are all allowed to exaggerate!

Mr. H. said...

Oxray Farm - Thanks, they sound like a very similar type of plant. I am sold on the ever-bearing varieties and would love to try another kind like your TriStar but have to consider my ability to keep them seperated...one of these days.

Diane - Our new garden motto should be "Oh So Slow To Grow"...seriously.:) We do have some advantages though in that I can pretty much grow salad greens all summer long...tomatoes on the other hand...hit and miss to be sure. Dr. Wyche's is plugging along...fingers crossed that it will produce this year.

Buttons - Ah yes, but you have to be careful with those wild strawberries.:)

"Are wild strawberries really wild? Will they scratch an adult, will they snap at a child? Should you pet them, or let them run free where they roam? Could they ever relax in a steam-heated home? Can they be trained to not growl at the guests? Will a litterbox work or would they make a mess? Can we make them a Cowberry, herding the cows, or maybe a Muleberry pulling the plows, or maybe a Huntberry chasing the grouse, or maybe a Watchberry guarding the house, and though they may curl up at your feet oh so sweetly can you ever feel that you trust them completely? Or should we make a pet out of something less scary, like the Domestic Prune or the Imported Cherry, Anyhow, you've been warned and I will not be blamed if your Wild Strawberries cannot be tamed." — Shel Silverstein

Sorry, I have wanted to post these funky words from Silverstein for a while now but the opportunity never presents.:)

Wendy - I have read many an article from very experienced gardeners that say to mow back your berries in order to keep them disease free and producing for a number of years.

That said, we do not do this, prefering to pull up the old ones and replant the babies in the spring of every 3rd year in order to have healthy vigorous plants. This is done on a rotation of sorts with 3 different plots so that we always have a nice amount of 2nd year strawberry plants under production as they put out the most berries for us. You might try doing both just to see which methods works best for your plants.

Kimberly - With any luck next year will be a better one for your berries and if you have to have a weed, Swiss chard sounds like a good one. North Idaho does look pretty nice this time of year, especially since we have had such a wet spring...lots of green going on.

E - Well I'm certainly no expert but I would think that even asexually produced plants would adapt/change depending upon the conditions in which they are grown and what type of nutrients they are able to assimulate from the soil, air, and water. So when I say adapt I mostly mean that a plant could change somewhat in the sense of becoming stronger or weaker, bigger or smaller, more or less productive, over time depending upon the nutrition and conditions it is provided with. A phenotypic variation of sorts...or something like that.:)

Granola Girl - You are back? We definitely need to work on our strawberry dehydration techniques...they never turn out as we hope. Perhaps we need to slice them a bit thicker. But yes, dried strawberries do make for an excellent travel snack....and they are so lite.:)

WeekendFarmer said...

Forget the strawberries...I am jealous about the RAIN!!! Twice in a row? I am dying here : ).

ex·ag·ger·ate - you say? Funny...my wife says the same thing about me: ). Exaggerate away...those berries look amazing! I am glad you posted. I want to bring strawberries back to the land here. I was thinking about this everbearing kind. I hope you will make some jam as well : ).

Send me some rain!

Mavis said...

Is that you Mrs. H? Nice berries... I hope you made some jam. :)

Mr. H. said...

WeekendFarmer - It rained yesterday morning too...just a little though. I will try to push some of these clouds over in your direction.:)

Mavis - That is Mrs. H standing there with an arm load of berries.:)

AJK said...

Yay Strawberries! Everbearing ones are the best! Ours are taking a short break from berry production while it produces some runners. Then, once the runners come, it's back to some more autumn berries! :-) We get some in the winter although sparse. Happy Strawberry Fest!

Elizabeth said...

you brag all you want when you work your tail feathers off like you do. I couldn't pick my berries before something ate holes in them!!! Sad!
Peace & Raw Health,
Elizabeth

Mr. H. said...

AJK - Sounds like you have some good plants. Ours are finally taking a break from berry production too...mostly. Enjoy those berries.:)

Elizabeth - Too bad about the holes in your berries, must bee slugs or something like that having a snack...if I was a bug I would be too.:)

michelle said...

Brag on! Your strawberries are amazing. I'm going to have to try covering my strawberries to protect them from the plague of rats we've got this year. I wonder if they will pollinate themselves under row cover?

Sweet Life Garden said...

wow! How big is your bed, or did I miss that? Beautiful!

Mr. H. said...

Michelle - I recently read a nice article on growing strawberries under row covers that does state "Strawberries will set fruit without pollinators, but maximum berry size and weight are obtained
by having good cross pollination of flowers with bees
." Too bad about your rat issues, what a terrible thing to have to deal with in ones garden.

Sweet Life Garden - Too big.:) Our main section that we are picking off this year is approximately 10 x 50ft. Speaking of which, I need to get out there and do some more weeding this evening.

sylvie in Rappahannock said...

Tristar is a day-neutral strawberry does wonder for me in my Northern Virginia Piedmont garden. I just love having strawberries from early summer until mid-fall. Eat them fresh, but also freeze them for smoothies in winter.

Mr. H. said...

Sylvie - Tristar sounds like a great berry and one that is very similar to our variety. Most of our berries end up in smoothies too.:)

Cassy said...

I love those strawberries!

Cassy from Guitar Made Easy

meemsnyc said...

I really should grow the everbearing variety. I would love to find a hardy variety for our garden. I can't remember the name of the variety we have.

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