Strawberries Are a Good Investment
I saw this sign at the grocery store yesterday, and took a picture because we’re about to add more strawberry plants to our yard and garden. 2 pounds of strawberries for 5 bucks is, I guess, a good deal, but consider:
- how far those strawberries travelled to get here
- how long they travelled to get here
- what chemicals they were treated with
- how do they taste?
That last one is the real gamble, isn’t it? I KNOW I’m not the only one to bite into store-bought berries to find they’re either bland, or, worse yet, bitter.
Do you know how cheap strawberry plants are? I’d say you can get a pound of berries from a single mature, everbearing plant, especially after it sends out a few runners, and for $5 you can get 25 plants.
So Grow Your Own
In 2013 we added a strawberry bed to our yard and lined the border of our fig row, née blueberry bed, with them, too. We paid $44 in 2013 for 75 plants from Burpee, an all-season collection of their best performers. Right now, today, you can go to Peaceful Valley Organic (my favorite; there are plenty of others, though) and for $40 you can get 200 plants!
Strawberries are either Junebearing or Everbearing. The former gives you one big crop (over 2-3 weeks) of generally large berries and then they’re done. The rest of the year they just look pretty and leafy and, on our property, evergreen most of the time. The later kind, everbearing strawberries, generally produce smaller crops of smaller strawberries, BUT they do so over THREE seasons!
Strawberries do extremely well at our place (Virginia’s piedmont, USDA Zone 7A) as we can tell both in our very healthy 2-yr old plantings, and also because wild strawberries creep as a ground cover all over around here! Seeing what grows without tending is often a good indicator of what you should plant.
So if you like strawberries, go ahead and buy them by the pound at the store or, better yet, a farmer’s market, but also spend 10 bucks this year and get 50 plants, or just 5 bucks and get 25 and plant them in your yard. You will likely never get berries that taste better and I know you will not get them any fresher than off your back porch. Or put them in pots out front!
Gardening is Good!
PS — I’ll put some links on growing strawberries in the next weekly-ish research email that goes out. You can subscribe here if you’re into that sort of thing.