The last few years I have been growing everbearing strawberries out in one of the raised beds. The yields were disappointing, so last spring I replaced them with June-bearing strawberries. I didn’t get any strawberries last year, but that is expected and even good for the plants. It’s best to pull off the blooms the first year if you get any, that lets the plant put all its energy into establishing a strong root system. Strong roots will help the plants produce more and larger fruit for years to come. June came and so have the berries – they are bigger than the everbearing and abundant! These were from the first harvest last week, now we are bringing in two big bowls every other day or so.
Another strawberry I really enjoy is the Pink Panda. They are much smaller than the June-bearing and have beautiful little pink flowers throughout the growing season sometimes followed by tiny sweet strawberries. Pink Pandas were introduced to the US from England way back when the kids were little, maybe the early 80’s. They are fun to add to hanging baskets (or a whole basket of just pandas) plus they are a great addition anywhere around the yard for ground cover. Beware, they have a lot of long runners (runners are a horizontal stem that grows above ground, which grow new plants) so you may have to keep them under control.
Some of the leaves are starting to get a little pale so I am keeping a close eye on them. I think I might need to supplement the soil but need to do a little research. I planted four types of the June-bearing plants but did not label the rows, now I don’t know what type each plant is, or what any of them are really, since I didn’t make notes in my garden notebook. A disappointing error but not uncommon for the Buchanan garden.
Know who doesn’t mind the pale leaves? The local blacktail deer. They are the smallest of the four species that are indigenous to this area. They live around the coast and on the islands of Western Washington. I saw them wandering around in the spring and caught a quick picture.
This evening I went out to check on the patch and noticed I am now sharing ¼ of the bed with the deer. What is really weird is they ate the foliage but left all the berries – here is a picture of what is left from the visit.
So far we have just been cutting up the berries and macerating them with a little sugar. They have been delicious over vanilla ice cream, Nancy likes to add some whipped cream. We had so many yesterday, we sent some to a friends house and tomorrow morning we will have another large crop. A good problem to have.
What do you do with your extra strawberries? We need some ideas before we are overrun.