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The First Ripe Strawberry

May 26th, 2010

I’ve been watching the strawberry patch like a hawk, waiting for that first glimpse of red. We’ve had a lot of blooms this year and lots of tiny green fruit setting on. Strawberries are one of my favorite things to have in the garden. They’re so easy I don’t know why more people don’t grow them. The flavor is so much better than the ones in the grocery store and you can grow them organically without chemicals and pesticides. I’d never buy conventional strawberries at the store because they’re one of the worst offenders when it comes to chemical pollution (and they’re about to get worse, read this).

Last week I noticed the first slight blush on one of the berries when I was out weeding. If you have your own strawberry patch you know exactly how excited I was. I started thinking about strawberry shortcake, my favorite way to eat strawberries.

Yesterday when I was out picking lettuce for our lunch salad, something red caught my eye. It was the first deliciously ripe red strawberry. Mr Chiots and I split it, we each enjoyed half a strawberry on our salad. They pair perfectly with balsamic vinegar! I’ll be eagerly watching the patch waiting for enough berries to make the first strawberry shortcake of the season.

I’m considering adding a patch of ever-bearing strawberries to our garden. That way we can harvest strawberries all season long, instead of just having a flush of berries in the spring. I’ve heard that Tri-Star is a great variety so I may try some of them.

Do you grow your own strawberries? What’s your favorite way to enjoy them?

30 Comments to “The First Ripe Strawberry”
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: The First Ripe Strawberry #edible #uncategorized #growyourown #strawberries […]

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  2. Mangochild on May 26, 2010 at 5:14 am

    I saw my first strawberries last weekend – the sight of those white flowers and the tiny fruit made me so happy. None are quite ripe yet, but there is that start of the process that is the sign of more to come.

    I’m growing the everbearing kind (specific variety escapes me at this hour of the morning), since my area is pretty small and I only have enough strawberries for a quick handful pick at a time. We get the bulk of the fruit from a nearby farm, but having a few at home is a special experience.
    .-= Mangochild´s last blog ..Company Gardens and Pesticide-Resistant Plants =-.

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  3. Rose on May 26, 2010 at 7:51 am

    My strawberries are growing well but it will be at least a month before they’re quite ready. Strawberries are a big thing in the UK, and even though pesticide use is on the rise here, there’s enough outcry that this is rapidly falling out of favour. Fresh local strawberries are made of win; it will be time for me to make strawberry wine and freeze up loads of fresh for winter treats.
    .-= Rose´s last blog ..It’s Wine o’ CLock =-.

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  4. Sense of Home on May 26, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I love homegrown strawberries, they have so much more flavor than even the organic ones at the store. My favorite way to eat a strawberry is warmed by the sun and just picked. However, we also like them in homemade ice cream, yogurt smoothies and I have a strawberry bread recipe that is very good.
    .-= Sense of Home´s last blog ..Rhubarb =-.

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  5. Chris on May 26, 2010 at 10:21 am

    I have tried to grow strawberries twice in the past with no luck whatsoever which was very frustrating since everyone says they are so easy! :( I’m thinking the trouble was that I was buying the “bare root” plants, you know, the ones you get like ten in a box that look kind of dead. Well, I could never bring them back to life. This year I posted an ad on Craig’s list that if anyone out there had a successful strawberry patch with lots of runners, I would love to buy some of their extras. Well, a very nice lady responded and we agreed on 50 cents apiece. I went out to her house about 3 weeks ago and dug up 20 runners that had already rooted themselves. So far I have only lost one plant, the rest I think are doing very well! Of course, I don’t expect to get any strawberries this year, but I’m hoping if I’m patient and baby them through this first summer I will begin reaping the rewards next year. I have absolutely no idea what variety they are, but that’s okay, I love an adventure! :) I just hope I don’t kill these plants off like I did the bare root ones.

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    • Susy on May 26, 2010 at 10:28 am

      Great idea. These were bare root plants and I lost 10 or so of them (out of the 75 I purchased). I think getting them established from someone is a great idea as is starting them from seed, which I had great luck with last year.

      If you have trouble with them it maybe something with your soil or planting location. Strawberries do enjoy a little afternoon shade and slightly acidic soil.

      The crowns can also be a little tender, so mulching them heavily in fall with pine needles helps them survive the winter.

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  6. Jennifer on May 26, 2010 at 10:23 am

    We have regular and everbearing strawberries, and will never plant the everbearing kind again. They are small, flavorless, don’t spread (which may or may not be a good thing, maybe they can be divided, i’m not sure). We don’t like them at all and regret planting the one we have. Our other strawberry plants are wonders to behold, while the everbearing is a constant disappointment. I would estimate that we got about 8 berries from it all of last year, and none were larger than a small cherry. Maybe we got a dud?

    Reply to Jennifer's comment

    • Susy on May 26, 2010 at 10:30 am

      I bought a few seeds for some ‘Tarpan’ strawberries, which are alpine everbearing that do spread. I’ll see how we like them, if we don’t like them I’ll tear them up and plant a different variety.

      Here’s where I bought the seeds:

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  7. heather jane on May 26, 2010 at 11:22 am

    strawberries are one of our greatest pleasures in June. Ever since my now nearly 8 year old daughter was about to turn one we’ve been picking at a no spray field near our house. I’ve been wanting to start my own big patch, but haven’t been ready to dedicate the space here at home. I’m getting close to digging up a big old patch of grass, though. I spend a lot of money on strawberries every year

    I love strawberry freezer jam the best. We eat it on toast and muffins, etc, but nothing is better than stirring a spoonful into homemade yogurt! YUM!
    .-= heather jane´s last blog ..Interplanting the Three Sisters =-.

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  8. talia on May 26, 2010 at 11:23 am

    so exciting to harvest the first berry of the season. I’ve planted strawberries for the first time this year and spend time each morning staring at them hopefully: so far no berry, but lots of flowers… I can’t wait!

    Reply to talia's comment

  9. Louise on May 26, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Thanks for the link on the strawberry article; very interesting read. I planted 3 kinds of ever-berry strawberries very early spring. The plants are just doing wonderful; they have been planted, as Susy mentioned earlier, in an area in the garden that receives afternoon shade and has slightly acidic soil.

    I read that it is best, for the first year, to remove all flowers to promote strong root systems. It has been a difficult task because every time I remove the flower, I know I am removing a ever so delicious homegrown strawberry. I also read that removing the flowers for the first year will supply you with an abundance of fruit the next year.

    I have noticed that the runners are developing; can’t wait to get the runners rooted (especially after reading the article.) I want to plant as many as I can. Since this is my first ever strawberry patch, does anyone know how to promote root growth on the runners??

    Thanks in advance and happy growing!

    Reply to Louise's comment

    • Susy on May 26, 2010 at 11:46 am

      I simply let my runners root where they want to, they seem to do well. I have some growing now in an old gravel driveway and they’re blooming and setting fruit – amazing!

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  10. Lisa on May 26, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    This is my first visit to your blog and I will definitely be coming back! Love it. The photos are so pretty and I enjoyed reading about your gardening adventures.

    We have an antique clawfoot tub in our flower beds and this year I cleaned it out and added some strawberry plants to it. They look so nice in there! I know what you mean about getting excited when you see that first blush on a berry. Ours are still green but I’m looking forward to the day when we will eat our first ripe berries.

    I also like your gardening in the rain post. We live in Western Oregon so gardening in the rain is pretty much a given!

    Reply to Lisa's comment

    • Susy on May 26, 2010 at 12:24 pm

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

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  11. Tommy on May 26, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I unfortunately just tore out all my strawberry patch—although I love them, they get ravaged by birds and slugs—no matter what I tried, I couldn’t keep them safe! I was sad, so I planted asparagus in that spot instead…….I figured that would be easier to protect! do you have problems with birds and slugs on your berries?

    Reply to Tommy's comment

    • Susy on May 26, 2010 at 12:23 pm

      We don’t have too many slugs, we have lots of toads around. If anyone has issue with slugs perhaps a few boards (non-pressure treated) laying around the garden will encourage toads to take up residence. Make sure you don’t step on them though.

      Our biggest problem in the strawberry patch is chipmunks. They love them and pick the ripe ones, eat a bite and then leave it laying there. Now that there’s a feral cat we don’t see too many chipmunks and we haven’t had any in the patch yet.

      If you have trouble with birds you can cover with cheesecloth or a white floating row cover. If the birds can’t see the berries they won’t go after them. This also works with cherry trees and blueberry bushes. The problem with the netting is that the birds can see the berries, then try to get them and get stuck in the netting. After fishing a bird or two out of the netting and having to kill them (they were injured beyond healing) I decided cheesecloth/row cover was much better). I’ve even fished a strangled chipmunk out of the netting before.

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  12. Blake @ Salt, Teak & Fog on May 26, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Sure do. I love strawberries so much. We grow Alpines from seed (Renee’s Garden) and they are so incredibly delicious: a jammy, complex, concentrated flavor. I like eating them anyway I can, but my most recent favorite is to make strawberry butter, which goes so well on a warm scone.
    .-= Blake @ Salt, Teak & Fog´s last blog update: mid-May =-.

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  13. Katie on May 26, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    At my old house I had a strawberry “issue”. The 20 bare root plants became hundreds in just a few years and they were also very fruitfull. We love strawberry shortcake. We sold the old house and bought a another house in the middle of winter. I prepped by potting up about 30 of the plants and putting them in the garden in preparation for moving. By the time we closed on the house and I could move the plants the ground was frozen. I was in my garden with a blow torch and pick axe because I refused to leave my starwberries behind. It all worked out, the plants are in their new home, setting fruit, and getting ready to take over the world.

    Reply to Katie's comment

    • Susy on May 26, 2010 at 12:23 pm

      They do multiply beyond belief don’t they. Although too many strawberries never seems to be a problem around here :)

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  14. MAYBELLINE on May 26, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    I’m with you. Strawberries are so easy to grow every gardener should stock up during bare root time. Mine grow vigorously without much attention at all. Each morning I pick my breakfast. This morning I picked my breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack.

    My favorite way to enjoy the berries is fresh picked. Rinse. Repeat.
    .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..Saturday in the Garden =-.

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  15. Joshua on May 26, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    I put in 20 Albion everbearing strawberries this year. I’m picking the blossoms off until July, to allow them time to really settle in. I dedicated an entire bed to strawberries, because I figured it’s hard to have too many! Unlike lettuce, for example. I’m still eating my romaine because by golly if I grew it, I’m not going to throw it out, but I won’t cry when it’s gone.
    .-= Joshua´s last blog ..Garden Update: May 26, 2010 =-.

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  16. mamaraby on May 26, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    We absolutely adore Strawberries at our house. It was really difficult last year when we had to diligently snip all of the flowers off so that the plants would have a chance to establish themselves. I suppose it will be worth it – although even though we have probably somewhere near 40 or so plants from the 75 we bought last year I don’t think we’ll have enough. Two little people, four little hands, and two hungry mouths? We’ll be lucky to have one or two berries to put up for the rest of the year!
    .-= mamaraby´s last blog ..Garden Harvest Update (as of 5/26/10) =-.

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  17. Sarah Jane on May 26, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Living in California’s central valley, we are able to grow strawberries like weeds. Unfortunately, the weather this year has been not at all like our normal weather and most of the strawberries I planted died. =(
    .-= Sarah Jane´s last blog ..Doll Clothes =-.

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  18. Amber on May 26, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Yes, we’re growing our own strawberries this year. We have three plants…and they certainly aren’t producing like yours. My husband has unfortunately missed every moment we’ve enjoyed them. My son and I enjoy them most by each getting a bite! This happens maybe once every 1-2 weeks. I wish it was more often…to enjoy them sliced on our cheerios or in our oatmeal in the mornings. :)
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..Sharpie Contest =-.

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  19. Seren Dippity on May 27, 2010 at 2:52 am

    I’m growing some “family heirloom” strawberries that came from a strawberry patch on my grandmother’s farm. Mom says there have been strawberries there for over 50 years. They are small – about marble size but heavy producers; I never remember being at grandma’s house when there were not strawberries available from the freezer. When grandma died, mom managed to save some of the plants before the family sold the old house and property. I planted 4 of them last year and they took over my 4’x4′ bed (I had previously planted some from the big box stores that did not thrive…. out of 20 something roots of Quinalt and Sequoia there are two small ones alive left of each type.) Grandma’s on the other hand have sent out runners and covered the rest of the bed.
    They started turning ripe about the middle of April and are now all gone. There wasn’t enough to freeze or even cook with; we enjoyed them fresh from the vine. Very sweet, strong intense flavor.
    My one issue was that a high percentage of them were deformed or not “complete”. Research seems to say that it is either a lack of boron in the soil or insufficient pollination. I’m guessing lack of pollinators, I think I have had issues with that on other things in my garden… just not sure. My plan is to plant more flowers in the area that will be blooming in early April to attract the pollinators while the strawberries are blooming. They have large leaves and most of the blooms are hidden beneath; maybe the bees just didn’t see them?
    Makes me want bee hives even more than ever before. I’ve started research and started talking my DH into the project. I need more pollinators! (And would LOVE homegrown honey!)
    Anyway, now that they’ve stopped production the runners have started going wild. I will be expanding my strawberry patch for sure…. possibly using them to line the front edge of all my flower beds.

    Thanks for the link to the article. I will definitely be sharing it with my daughter and her friends (She has 2 yr old twins and is a member of our local mother’s of multiples club). It has been hard resisting the cheap strawberries in the grocery stores. I love them so!

    Congrats on your first strawberry. Enjoy them.

    Reply to Seren Dippity's comment

    • Susy on May 27, 2010 at 9:01 am

      How great to have strawberries with such family history! We have wild strawberries that grow around here. If they have decent soil they produce dime sized berries. We currently have some that started on our front hillside, they’re quite tasty!

      Last year I noticed more mason bees on my strawberries than honeybees and I still had some knotty berries. I’m sure a certain percentage will be knotty. I may try adding some boron to my beds to see if that helps.

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  20. Holme on May 30, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    We have one strawberry plant by the window in our tiny flat. They are starting to turn red and they look delicious.
    How nice nice it will be to have a large garden with space for a serious strawberry production :)

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  21. adri on June 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    How do you know when it was ripe! it just has to be red? I have one solo red strawberry but its small. then how do you pick it? do you just pull or cut?

    Reply to adri's comment

    • Susy on June 15, 2010 at 2:26 pm

      Yep, when it’s red it’s ready, no matter what the size. I usually just pull gently to avoid pulling off unripe berries. Most come off with a slight “pop” from the stem. Enjoy your first ripe berry!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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