Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What Happened to the Strawberries?

I've never had trouble growing strawberries and getting a BOUN-tiful harvest from them.  Well, this year this Queen of the Strawberries really got knocked off her peg.

The season started with blossoms appearing much earlier than normal.  Then the first berries were ripe a good two weeks before the usually expected first week of July.  Hmmm, something doesn't seem right here considering the very cool spring and early summer we had.  Why would the strawberries be early in a year like this that lacked both warmth and sunshine?

The current plants are only three years old, and I've been consistently able to keep a strawberry patch producing well for 6-7 years before needing to replant them.  This year's whole harvest was like that from elderly plants that needed to be replaced. 

Looking at the total poundage of berries for the past three years:

2016 - 124 lbs. 12 oz.
2017 - 117 lbs. *
2018 - 47 lbs. 12 oz.

*The total for 2017 should be a few (several?) pounds higher because the patch suffered a couple of invasions of little people who came and picked while eating their fill.  (But what else are red, ripe, juicy strawberries for?)

So, looking at the comparison of the last three years . . . drat and blast, was this year's harvest downright dismal!

But you know what?  It happens.  And sometimes the reason for a "down" year of a particular crop cannot be discerned with any certainty.

It does make me wonder what a pick-your-own outfit or someone raising them to sell for needed income does in a year like this.  It's certainly not the blow to our little homestead as it would be to folks depending on the year's income (or part thereof) from strawberries.  

Bottom line, although we're disappointed in our strawberry harvest this season, there's always next year!


wisps of words said...

Was the Moon in Venus?

Or Capricorn in Mars?

Or any of those handy reasons for....such things?


coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Totally agree!! I made some jam, but didn't freeze a single berry. Last year, I was able to freeze bags and bags and bags as well as make jam. I blamed the late cold spring we had. Then came no rain. Who the heck knows! Something else will do well though, and you'll end up with scads of it (zhucchini??) -Jenn

Mama Pea said...

wisps of words - Okay, I'll go with that. Probably as good a reason as anything else! :o/

Jenn - Omigosh, you, too? Good to know I'll be able (so you say) to make as much zucchini jam as I want. ;o) (There probably IS a recipe for zucchini jam. But I might just pass.) I do have a good recipe for sweet zucchini relish though. Too bad I'm the only one in the family who eats it. :o(

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

All of the U Pick farms around our end were just the same. All websites claimed that the berries were later than usual and not plentiful. Most sites said the winter was hard on them. I know we share the same sort of winter - but I *think* you had more snow than us?

Susan said...

I was fighting all season with the squirrels and chipmunks - they won. I am contemplating pulling up all my plants and making the bed a zinnia bed. We have a lot of small growers around and it is a lot less aggravating to have someone else grow them and put them in a nice box that I can buy. The weeds are doing me in.

Michelle said...

That's impressive poundage, even this year! But I can see why you're disappointed; we can hope for "normal" next year but who knows. NOTHING seems "normal" anymore!

tpals said...

This is my second year for my patch and I was hoping for something more impressive. Think I will blame it on the weather and hope for better next year also.

Mama Pea said...

MrsDM - We didn't get our usual amount of snow, but certainly enough to keep my plants covered all winter. Not much in the way of really frigid weather either. So it's kind a question as to what really happened. Encouraging (but not good news) to hear the strawberry farms by you experienced much the same thing. :o(

Susan - I feel strawberries are quite labor intensive so if we had the possibility of buying berries around here that weren't sprayed with chemicals, you can bet your bippy I would!

Michelle - Nothing seems normal anymore. You got that right, girlie!

tpals - Yep. The gardener's mantra: Next year will be better!

Kristina said...

Mama Pea, there is a local area produce stand that didn't have any strawberries this year due to a bug eating the blossoms. I am told it will be a bad blueberry year for MI this year too. I am praying the guy calls me this week and tells me he has some. I found a source this year, but in smaller boxes. Time will tell I guess.

Katie C. said...

I had a problem with my green beans too. Tons of vines. Not. One. Flippin. Bean. I got a pressure canner for Christmas. I think they knew.

I took out the bean vines this week to give the banana and jalapeño peppers room. They are usually great producers. This year things have definitely been wonky. I hope everything goes ok with the tomatoes. They are running late this year because of the odd weather (I think).

BTW, I found and made a new pound cake recipe from the Food52 blog. You make it in the food processor. Super duper easy and it has an incredible rise in the oven. I put macerated strawberries on top. Heck, I ate three pieces plain the first night that I made it.