After a few of my tweets about the quantity of strawberries that we are harvesting right now, I started getting questions from friends.  What kind did we buy, where did we purchase them, how did we grow them.  And the more I got to thinking about it, the more I don’t know anyone else that grows strawberries currently.  My parents had them when we were growing up, but I don’t remember having a harvest quite like this (maybe because we ate them all before we took them into my mom!) Here is a picture from our yield from Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  The white bowl was full as well, but I had already made that into strawberry syrup.  The cup is there for a reference of how BIG these bowls are!!

Last January (2009) I saw a sale at Gurney’s for buy one/get one for orders of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.  I was totally excited because I had started dreaming about my garden and had hoped to be able to plant some fruits as well as veggies. I combined that offer with the save $25.00 if you order $50.00 and ended up spending about $35 with shipping for 50 strawberry plants, 4 raspberry plants and 2 blueberry plants.  I was pretty stoked.  Especially once I received the plants and I sold the extras on craigslist.  I think I paid about $10 out of pocket for all my plants!  I called Gurneys yesterday to find out what exact strawberry plants I ordered (for the life of me I can’t remember) and they told me all they have in their system is “Junebearing”.  Bummer.  Either way though, I’m sure any of their plants will work great.  I remember reading the descriptions and wanting a large yield (hello!!)  and disease resistant (no problems thus far).  We worked the soil and put down top soil and compost.  And I ordered their strawberry food which I figured was a good idea since I didn’t know a lot about how our soil was going to do with these strawberries, I wanted to make sure we had the best chance at succeeding.  And boy am I glad I did!  I have no idea if we just have good soil, or it was the food and compost- but I am one happy camper!  Here is our strawberry patch.  We have a retaining wall in our backyard, so this seemed like the perfect place (full sun) that we could keep kids and critters outa the way!  (We have fence along the sides to keep the rabbits and squirrels out and then this summer we added netting over the top of the plants to keep the birds out).

It is about 5-6 feet wide and about 24 feet long.  If I remember correctly, we planted about 24 plants in that area (which looked like nothing when we planted them) but they “sent their runners” out and started spreading… look out!  I would weed about every other day last summer and I kept having to clear the runners out of the middle of the walk way so we would have place to walk.  I am glad I did that (even had to uproot some of them and move them) but they multiplied like crazy.   I am told that after they produce their crop this June, they will send out runners again… not sure how that is going to happen, we are out of room!!  And last year we picked off all the blossoms to give the plants more time to use the nutrients to grow instead of producing the first year. Oh, and another note, Junebearing produce one large crop (although not necessarily in June!) and Everbearing will produce a large crop and then a smaller crop later at the end of the summer.  I picked Junebearing because as my mother in law put it “would you like to work hard once or more than once” – seemed like a good idea to just work hard once.  🙂  And this is my first time and we plan to move in the future so I might try my hand at something else next time.  They send a brochure with your plants of many tips and ideas for planting. You can just read it online as well to see if what you have to work with will be best for growing strawberries.

Anyhow, this gets so much better!! Once I started writing this post, I got an email from Guerneys that their site (not all of it) is 70% off for Memorial Day!!  I opened the link and checked the deals and several of the strawberries are on sale for $3 for 25 plants!  Are you kidding me?  That is even better than what I got last year.  I would guess you would have to get them in the ground asap to make sure they could have time to get established.  But that could mean a strawberry harvest for you next spring!! If you just look at their site, it will not show the 70% off prices.  But if you leave your email in the comment section, I can email you the link to get the sale prices, and MAYBE if this is your first order you could use the $25 off of $50 (see here at the top of the page- this is just my idea to try to combine both offers… they may not let you do this) get your girlfriends together, order some berries and split shipping! I’m totally gidding typing this and wish we had our new house (wherever and whenever that might be!) so I could plant for the years to come! So let me know if you would like the email and I will get it to you.  I would imagine it would be best to order asap since this is a sale and they might run out of inventory.  I’ve learned from experience. 🙂  The email offer says that it is good until June 4, 2010.

That about sums up the last 18 months of my strawberry experience.  I finally caught up today with cutting off the tops, washing, dicing and freezing my berries when my hubby walked in from outside and said “We will have another bountiful harvest tomorrow!” I can’t complain, we are going to enjoy many strawberry smoothies this next year!!