Strawberry Dreamin Part I

We got them in the car which was a good sign.  Sauce and I were on our own to pick up the load of strawberry plants I had ordered.  I’m an optimist, or royally overconfident (more likely), so back in July I remember myself asking “Is 500 plants enough?”  This is the kind of reckless enthusiasm that tempts one to plant 10-15 zucchini plants in April only to be secretly depositing the fruit on unsuspecting neighbors come July.  So I plowed ahead with the order.  Now in September, 500 looks a lot bigger in real life than it did on paper.  But I’m committed.  

This is our first foray into strawberries and the first time this plot of ground has been used for anything other than weed cultivation in 20+years. We’ve been planning this for a while.  This site was the location of our pollinator seed mix this past summer.  Those annual flowers are long gone and now Paul has done a fine job of prepping the soil.  All that stands between me and some perfect strawberry beds is 10,000 years, of rock.  Our farm was previously operated under the name Rocky Hill Farm.  Not a quaint moniker, but fact.  Our location near the Haw River grows rock.  Despite all the tilling, disking, raking, etc. the best tool for removing rock is hands.  Nothing like some good wholesome family time picking out rocks.  Lured at the promise of baked goods, everyone pitched in.  With the prep work done I’ve widely advertised that planting will be the easy part.  :).  Again, positive thinking.  

Some folks are surprised to learn that strawberries are treated as an annual crop here in NC.  Berry plugs are planted in the fall, produce their bumper crop in the spring and then meet their demise in June.  If all goes well for us (and not the deer) these berries should contribute two-fold: fruit and bee forage.  This will allow us to sell some berries (at market or u-pick depending on yield) and to can our own berries into jam.  In the scheme of commercial production, we’ve actually started off pretty small in scale.  But we intend to learn on a small scale and increase on successes and hedge our failures  learnings.  So I look forward to a weekend of learning.  Check back for an update once the plants are in!


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