Last year my Mom graciously gifted me with a bucket o' strawberries she mercilessly ripped out of her raised beds. I, being a
The weather last summer was brutal and I lost some of the berry plants to the heat. The ones that did the best were the ones that were in the middle section where I did not weed. Apparently the weeds helped cool the plants whereas the weeded section of berries just shriveled up and died.
We didn't get more than a dozen berries last year although I wasn't expecting any. After I heard all my other strawberry-growing blogging buddies talking about mulching their strawberries for the winter I figured I should probably be doing the same thing. But I'm too cheap to buy straw or mulch, so I just heaped liberal amounts of fallen leaves over everything. Not sure if I really had to because our winter was very mild this year, but everyone else was doing it so I figured I should be doing it.
This spring I picked all the leaves off the bed and transplanted several plants to the scorched area and the area where I had peppers last year in order to fill the entire bed with strawberry plants.
There were tons of flowers and soon, tons of little tiny berries! Then about a week ago, I started to pick a handful of berries every day. But now when I go out there, the berries are already half rotted! Some of them look as if something teeny-tiny buggy thing has been nibbling on it, but most of them are just black/brown & smooshy on the side touching the earth. Is there something I should be doing? But I'm telling you right now that I am most definitely not going to put individual teeny-tiny little blankets underneath each berry or anything like that.
|The ones that made it into the house; not quite ripe on the left,|
eating berries in the bucket, chicken scraps on the left.
Too many icky parts for my liking and not enough in the eat'n bucket.
So, oh growers of strawberries, what am I doing wrong? I'm not an herbicide / pesticide kind'a gal so that's out of the question. Or is this just the way non-commercial berry growing & picking happens in real life?