Urban Homesteading: Bountiful Berries

| 4/29/2010 1:54:07 PM

strawberry blossomsJust a year ago I planted seeds and seedlings in new raised garden beds. In one triangle (8 feet on all sides) I nestled in 12 June-bearing strawberry plants. They looked small and inconsequential in the big, straw covered bed. I hoped they would put out runners and perhaps this spring produce enough berries for a good strawberry shortcake dinner.

Ha! Would you look at this bed now! We doubled the size of the bed this spring, making a bit of a lopsided triangle, and transplanted some of the young plants that had taken root in the grass outside the bed. I actually mowed down a dozen such starts last year when the runners were at their peak.

Now with warm weather and cloud watering, the original bed has exploded with large-lobed leaves and blossoms on 6-inch stems. Small green nubbins of strawberries are starting to develop. This weekend I plan to purchase some garden netting to discourage the hungry squirrels from eating the ripe berries (I’m anticipating a phenomenal harvest). My mouth waters just musing on the potential!

maple seedsThe other phenomenal producer in the yard this year is the large silver maple that has its roots in the neighbor’s yard, but graciously shades our house with a large horizontal branch that stretches the full width of the house. There must be a million maple seeds that have twirled their way into every corner of the yard — it is amazing the bountiful abundance of this maple tree. Last evening, we swept them up in the driveway and easily collected 10 gallons.

Just imagine the potential in all those seeds — acres of silver maples providing homes for birds and squirrels, oxygen for all the fauna, leaves for compost and shade for whomever seeks it. And that’s from just one half-grown tree in one yard in one town in one state … You get the picture.

So, while I’m scooping up fallen seeds, consigning them to the rubbish bin and eventually a covered landfill, I await with great anticipation the ripening of just a few perfectly delicious, juicy strawberries to grace my breakfast table. YUM!

Ken Berry
12/18/2010 9:36:37 AM

Great article! I hope you continue to spread the work about growing your own berries! Did you know they are more nutitious when home-grown? Read my post... http://country-physician.blogspot.com/2010/09/vitamins-does-your-family-get-enough.html

Felicia Luburich
5/22/2010 2:56:52 PM

Why throw the tree seeds into a landfill? Put them in a compost heap, grind them into chicken or goat or pig feed? Or do like the old retired Italien man did. He planted tree seeds in his area, where few people lived; there were no streams, few trees and little rain. By the time he died he had transformed a virtually barren land into one where trees, flora and fauna abounded; streams flowed, rain fell and people had moved into. TRUE STORY. Even if you just throw them out the car window in handfuls, wherever you travel, new trees will grow.

Knowing Happiness
5/6/2010 1:49:05 PM

A wise (wo?)man once said, “The only difference between s**t and fertilizer is the packaging. Free organic fertilizer (http://knowinghappiness.net/free-organic-fertilizer/) is another way I celebrate the bounty of the byproducts. Thanks for the thoughts.

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