I have always been a strawberry-aholic (see my previous post about them). I just can’t get enough of those lovely sweet-tart gems! I’ve planted them most everywhere I’ve lived, and I appreciate the plants as much as I do the fruit.
Here at Crazy Corner Farm, I have a generous strawberry patch. Okay, okay, it’s ridiculously huge…*sigh* I admit I’m a problem strawberry eater. But anyway…
I have a dog’s breakfast of strawberry varieties, and I try to manage my strawberry patch to favour the ones I like best. Even so, I do precious little to the strawberries. I keep them weeded. I re-establish my paths every winter by digging out and replanting “stray” plants. I mulch them with grass clippings. I water them when they get particularly dry.
I don’t fertilise them, I don’t prune them, I don’t fluff their pillows and straighten their blankets.
No, for the most part, my strawberries are on their own.
Friends and acquaintances regularly ask me how I manage to grow such luscious strawberries, and in such quantity. They run down a long list of all the things they’re doing to their plants, and end it with, “But I’m just not getting many berries, and they’re not as good as yours.” I tell them my berries are so good because I abuse my plants.
My theory is that strawberries need to suffer a little. They need to have to fight for nutrients, they need to get a little thirsty now and again—not to extremes, of course, but if you coddle the plants too much, they’ll be bland.
I think it’s the same with people. We all need a little hardship in our lives, or else we turn bland, boring. In order to develop character, we need challenges on which to test our character. We need challenges in order to become the best we can be. Without them, we’d be as tasteless and dull as a supermarket strawberry.