Gardening

Strawberries are the Most Seductive of Plants

Everyone has encountered that person, the one who makes you swoon with lust/love. The person who drives you wild just by being in the same room. The person who won’t give you the time of day.

Strawberries are the most seductive plants. They just wink at you with their innocently sexy red berries. They seem to call out to you, with the promise of a juicy nibble. They’re also supposed to be easy.

Every growing season I’m tempted by that siren plant called Strawberry. It whispers in my ear, ”Wouldn’t it be amazing to have me on the balcony? To skip out the back door & bite into a fresh berry?”

No, because Strawberry is a tease. She likes having me wrapped around her little stems, but she just doesn’t like to put out.

Three summers I’ve tried to grow strawberry plants. Every time it’s failed miserably. Last summer I even sternly told myself no. How much money had I wasted in the past on plants & containers & soil & compost & time? So last year, instead of wasting precious resources, I dreamt about growing strawberries all summer long. Years previous had seen plants just not produce or plants that would wither & die. And one year I bought plants online. Out of the dozen that arrived moldy, one or two were useable, until they died a week later.

Yesterday, that siren called to me again. I was unintentionally riding my bike past the garden center when I remembered, my beet seeds from a few years ago hadn’t sprouted well this year. How many months has it been since I’ve been lusting after the variety called bull’s blood? I veered into the parking lot, then made my way towards the seeds.

A short stop was required as I enviously stared at all the seedlings that would put my garden a month ahead from where it was. Yet I persevered- best not to became tempted by too many expensive things.

I found the seeds & scooped up my beets, looking around like Gollum. Such precious little seeds & such a precious little picture of those blood red beet greens.

Surely, now that I had what I came in for I would be on my merry. But what could it hurt to look at the other seeds? Oh, look, buy two packets from the Thompson & Morgan seed company & get one free. My, my, mignonette strawberries just happen to be one of the ones they’re offering for free. How tiny those berries look, how adorable, how- precious. I’ve been wanting to grow parsley & cilantro for quite some time now. Surely I ought to buy those- they are some of the herbs I use the most. And if it just happens that buying them will get me free strawberries, well, that’s not my fault is it? It certainly can’t be helped.

That hussy. She played me. Strawberry lured me in off the street & tricked me into buying her. So now, I’ve broken my vow of strawberry celibacy. Lord help me! It was free! How could I resist? No mere mortal could.

And so last night, in the dark, when I should have been studying for finals, I planted my new herb & beet seeds. But Strawberry, I’m hoping if I treat her real well she’ll finally at least give me a kiss. I planted her inside & I’m keeping her all to myself. There will be no putting her out in the cold, no risking those damned wiley squirrels digging up her precious little roots.

Help me dear readers, am I alone in having been suckered in by a harlot of a plant? Is there something you try to grow year after year without success? Do you have any strawberry container growing tips? Maybe that’s it. Strawberry just doesn’t like my containers. Should I get fancy tricked out pots that will self-water & are covered in bling? What do you think? While normally I abhor such things, Strawberry may just need her name spelled out in rhinestones.

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17 thoughts on “Strawberries are the Most Seductive of Plants

  1. To my partner in planting, I was looking at the seed catalog from Landreth’s and the thought crossed my mind that we could plants strawberries on my deck. Stacked containers covered to protect them from the birds and armed guards to keep the squirrels away. Hydroponics is supposed to be a good way to grow them. Something to consider. How about a field trip to Chicago Roots Hydroponics and Organics on Irving Park at Pulaski ?

  2. You are in good company. I also tried growing the lush sweet strawberry for a few years, each time someone (thing) would get the berry before me. Now I have a few windowbox containers full of them. My trick is to cover them with netting, keeping out the squirls and birds and keeping them off the ground away from the slugs. Guard them well. Birds will reach their little beaks through the netting to get them so make sure the berries are well inside. As mentioned above, the first year it’s best to make sure your plant grows nice and healthy, even if you don’t get a berry off of it, it will pay off the next year.
    Everyone loves a juicy ripe strawberry. I hope you get yours.

    • Thanks for the advice. I hadn’t thought about birds reaching through netting. Hopefully the wire mesh I’ve got will do the trick. I’m also usually so berry driven that I didn’t stop to think that no berries could mean I would still get some the next year.

  3. Pingback: The Third Make It Monday « Disparate Disciplines

  4. I got locally grown farmer’s market starts 3 years ago, felt a little silly for paying considerably more than the big box store price. they are back with healthy growth, buds swelling. I just need to keep them screened from deer. and toward summer, when Oregon rain slows, water them. The strawberry seasons have been delayed lately, crowding into blueberries and raspberries…

    • Glad to hear yours are back! Maybe putting out a salt block for the deer would help keep them distracted? The first year I tried growing strawberries I bought some starters from the farmers market too. I lived in a box-like apartment & couldn’t even open the window. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that meant the plants couldn’t get pollinated, but it was my first year gardening.

  5. You are not alone. I’ve got strawberry seedlings started. Actually I was mean to them and tossed the seeds all together in a pot, so I had to prick them out into separate cells once they got their true leaves. So far, so good. Good luck!

    • Thanks! I need the luck. I too tossed mine into a pot (hoping that out of the many seeds scattered about at least some would sprout), but it’s the pot that the mature plants are going to live in. Considering my past luck, I’d be too afraid to transplant strawberry seedlings. I hope yours turn out well!

  6. I too am growing strawbs 🙂 I am doing a little experiment by picking off some of the flowers (I know…. sounds awful), but in the hopes of getting bigger fruit next year. However, some of them I have left the flowers on so I can get some fruit this year 😀 Good luck x

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