Making the strawberry connection


Weeks ago, I brought home some strawberry plants, and this weekend I finally got them put in the ground, right next to our new asparagus beds. Together they’ll make a happy little spring perennial garden. (Perhaps I’ll add some rhubarb next year!)

The method was simple: dig down about 8 inches, mix in lots of horse manure, and put in the plants at about a 10 to 12 inch spacing. If they do well (and I hear they’re hard to kill) they’ll proliferate soon and we’ll have more plants than we know what to do with.

Putting these guys in the ground, I realized how many threads from our life are woven through this little patch. There’s the friend in town who gave us the berry plants (and a fun visit we had while we took turns digging them out of her overgrown patch). There’s the friend down the road who lets us take as much horse manure as we want.

There’s also the knowledge and experience we’ve gained over some years of gardening–for example, we’re a lot more comfortable using a spade fork and a mattock than we used to be–and an awareness of how much we still have to learn. Some of those tools were gifts; others we got from our local hardware store, and either way there are people to whom we’re connected through the tools. 

And strawberries remind me of another friend, who works at the same local farm where I once had a job, and always saves me pints of the berries at the farmer’s market because he knows how much I love them.

Gardening has always been a rich experience, and it gets more so over the years. I love the way it connects us to other people and to the passage of time, and gives us concrete evidence of the progress we’re making on our place.

Or maybe I’m just looking for something to occupy my mind while I wait for these berries to come in!