Wild Strawberries

These sweetest, juiciest Berries may grow on a hillside near you.
These Berries are not big or shippable; their boast is bountiful flavor.
"Bigger is better" is hogwash !! Forget it. It's an "Old Wives Tale".

You may never have tasted the delicious sweetness of a Strawberry, if your only reference is those giant hard things, developed by mad men with nothing more than size and international shipping on their minds, and put in pretty plastic promotional packaging.

If you patronize a Farmers' Market, you may have sampled something better than those giant replicas. Many Gardeners still grow varieties which are not large and don't keep well, but are so much better tasting than those big varieties meant to be shipped across the world unscathed.

A small roadside Produce stand may be your best source. The berries will probably be in square open berry  boxes instead of those plastic packages. And the contents may make you glad you ventured outside the crowded aisles of shopping carts, into the fresh air of the countryside..

But if you want to savor the real thing, head for the hills where Strawberries grow wild in the hot summer sunshine. If you beat the Birds and Beasts to the wild Berry patches, you are in for a real treat. Don't expect to see rows of carefully cultivated lush vegetation.

What you are looking for are haphazard patches of  lonesome plants trying to eke out a living where even most weeds have given up. Look on the South sides of  slopes which have sparse vegetation. Strawberries love hot sunshine and good drainage. You may discover a patch by its powerful aroma.

Once you discover a berry patch, it may be productive for many years. Or you may have discovered it near its demise and be left with only fond memories. But if you love the outdoors and welcome the exercise, then you may be able to improve and prolong the life of your patch.

Strawberries propagate by several Runners. These are stems which grow horizontally above the ground. Usually within a foot of the Mother plant, they develop a Bud which sends down Roots, and sends up Shoots. This is intended to become a new Strawberry Plant which may send out Runners of its own.

These Buds may not develop if their location is not favorable to rooting, like a Rock or a hard place. So if you manage this natural garden by pushing the Runners off the rock, or removing the rock, or adding soil to the location, then you may be able to increase the number of plants which produce.

You also have the option of moving crowded plants to the edges of the patch where there is less competition for available nutrients. To avoid failure, always plant them with the crown above soil level, just the way they were where you removed them.

You also have the option of adding nutrients to your patch by spreading granular fertilizer by the plants according to the package instructions. A better "solution" may be
Manure Tea or Rabbit Grow which are Natures' Organic answer to plant health and growth.

These oversized replicas of the Wild Strawberry may as well be made of crushed cardboard and artificial  flavorings and sweeteners. If that's what pleases your palate, then don't venture out into Natures' Gardens where the fare is much more flavorful and aromatic.

It may pay you to search out these plants
while they are blooming
in early Spring.

Then when the harvest begins,
you will not have to spend your time
searching while you could be savoring.

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