Ah, I’m beginning to understand the cycle of my strawberry patch. The harvest that seemed unstoppable and never ending is now tapering off. It has been very cool watching my little patch thrive and suffer through its first year. Last fall changed my meager 5 plants into a thriving colony of over 40 plants. That’s when the chipmunks moved in. They’ve always been attracted to the ‘stream’ behind my house. My strawberry patch just gives them a place to hang out. Just about every plant has a hole nestled beside it. I can’t be sure, but there seem to be quite a few of the varmints down there. When I occasionally weed my patch, they twitter and complain the whole time.
Last winter, oh, last winter. The patch that had given me so much joy in the fall seemed destined to wither back into the ground. The dog seemed determined to keep my patch down. Every time I poked my head out the window, she would be digging a hole next to a convenient plant. Floods, cold, the dog… these conspired to reduce my patch to a squishy carpet of rotting leaves. I’d pretty much given up on ever getting any strawberries.
Spring brought new life to my patch, as it does to most everything else. What seemed like a dead patch of ground became a thriving colony of plants again. They grew so fast that they out paced most of the weeds, and I began beating back my little patch with the lawnmower. Just the way I like it. Then came the strawberries. My 6 foot square patch has been giving me strawberries for weeks. It’s starting to taper off now, and the end is in sight. Summer’s heat favors toads and grasshoppers over strawberries. I’ll leave the sun roasted strawberries to the critters, and be satisfied with just watching my patch for another year.