STRAWBERRY FIELDS

I used to plant strawberry beds at every place I lived. Nature does the rest.

I used to tell myself that I was like Johnny Appleseed — except that I planted strawberry beds at every place I lived. When it was time to move on, I always hoped that the people who lived there next would appreciate the work, maintain the plants, and enjoy the berries.

Strawberry growing was a skill I learned slowly, and I had some help — neighbors who gave me baby plants, told me how to protect them, and what to expect over the seven or eight months of their growth cycle. When mature plants send out “runners” in the fall, the baby plants have to be established in their own pots and covered with straw to protect them during the cold days of winter. The new plants must be carefully nurtured through the spring blossoming time.

It is not possible to bend over for all the work that a strawberry bed requires. I worked on my knees for a few years. Eventually, I sat on the ground and scooted along the rows. Much better for my back!

I remember the wonderful berries — enough to eat, and extra to freeze. A very special memory from those days is the strawberry-rhubarb jam I used to make. Hot biscuits, please.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” Lao Tzu