The Strawberry Patch, Delicious Hacks

2 Materials
$20
1 Day
Easy

Our strawberries went natural, jumping out of their rows to spread among our flowers and foliage plants. But we still get lots of berries and have come to love the way they look having gone wild.

When you grow your own, a strawberry tastes like complex minerals plus sweet and flowery notes. We call it a "miracle in a mouthful" … something like wine grapes which reflect the region in which they are grown.

BUT, a berry once bitten by a bug never does taste quite as good as one that is perfectly whole. It's a lot like when you cut fruit with a knife. A break in the skin starts a chemical reaction which diminishes the flavor profile. To prevent that, we invented a few ways to steer bugs away from our strawberries.

Our pot trick: Putting strawberries in a small flower pot with the fruit dangling inside, hanging over the rim, makes it difficult for crawling insects to reach ripening berries. We use lots of empty pots all over the garden to lift the berries into a safer space. 

Enterprising insects will still get their share, but this pot trick has increased the number of strawberries that make it into our mouths that are whole and perfect. It's well worth having these scattered around for a few weeks.

Here's how we lure bugs away from our strawberry fruit. We place an upside-down nursery pot over kitchen scraps sprinkled with pet-safe slug bait. We've listed our favorite product in the materials section. This is much safer than metaldehyde and the pots and scraps do well to hide the pellets from curious pets. Put these close enough to your berries to draw bugs away, and be sure to replace the lure and pellets once a week or so. This trap also works well in our pea patch and around our pepper plants. Give pests something else to eat, and they'll leave your good plants alone.

We've come to love growing alpine strawberries. They ripen earlier than our big berries so that birds check them out before the larger berries come into season. Confusing them with the much more prolific alpine berries, birds then leave your big berries alone. Plus alpine berries make wonderful whimsical, fragrant arrangements indoors.

Alpine berries are great for luring kids away from your bigger berries too! Who can resist the look of these tear-shaped cuties!

With just 30 strawberry plants scattered among our ornamentals we have plenty of fruit for experimenting with in the kitchen. There are so many things you can do with strawberries! Check out our blog page about our strawberry patch for some more ideas on how to use them, here.

Strawberries are decorative and versatile … and mostly carefree in the garden even when they jump out of their rows and run free. — Stephie McCarthy

Suggested materials:

  • Sluggo slug and snail control   (https://www.amazon.com/Monterey-LG6500-Sluggo-Snail-Killer/dp/B000BWZ8)
  • Nursery Pots   (https://www.amazon.com/Starting-Transplant-Containers-Tomatoes-Germina)

Stephie McCarthy
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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Frequently asked questions

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  1 question
  • Susan Susan on Jul 13, 2021

    I live in Montana and we have a big problem with grasshoppers any advice to keep them away from my garden and strawberries other than a greenhouse?

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 2 comments
  • Nadja Stevens Nadja Stevens on Jan 13, 2020

    Oh Stephie...I never thought to lift the berries and place them into a container while ripening!! What an awesome idea! All my old tea-cups will look amazing amongst my berry patch!

    My ever-bearing strawberries naturalized themselves within the 1st year of being planted. I have them planted right beside my central air conditioner and the water coming from that keeps my berries watered all summer!

    I think I must go "thrifting" for more tea-cups now! LoL

    • Stephie McCarthy Stephie McCarthy on Jan 13, 2020

      Your garden sounds very enchanting. I put cups under my strawberries every year! It definitely helps. I love the description of your garden! I have an self-watering air conditioner fern garden myself! -- Stephie

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