You Bet Your Garden

The Wild Strawberry That Isn’t a Weed!


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Most people think the phrase “wild strawberry” only refers to a vining plant that invades your lawn with tasteless fruits. On the next You Bet Your Garden, host Mike McGrath will introduce you to a wild strawberry that’s worth the eating. Plus: Billy Penn plans for the greening, and your fabulous phone calls!

Question of the Week:

I heard you mention wild strawberries on a show last year, and how the small plants were used to develop modern strawberries. I was happy to hear that discussion as I have a story about them. About 25 years ago we were visiting friends who live near Sellersville PA, and they told us they had wild strawberries in their back field. We were skeptical, but they told us that the plants were fruiting, so we took a walk and finally noticed some small plants with the right-shaped leaves. After some searching through the leaves we found a few ripe fruits that looked like miniature strawberries, about 1/4″ wide at the most. They burst with a flavor that was at least as intense an any full-sized strawberry I’ve ever tasted.

We’ve always liked wild berries, and asked if we could dig up a few and take them back to our home in Southern Delaware County. The small plants had barely any roots, but they took hold and spread in every direction. They now cover an area of about 200 square feet, and in late spring we can generally find a few berries a day for several weeks. (I suspect that birds and slugs are also getting some.) It now occurs to me that I could use them as a ground cover in some of the small flower beds around the house. We love seeking out the green leaves and white flowers on our hands and knees every Spring. We only get three or four berries a day, but what a treat!

…But should I fear setting an invasive loose in the neighborhood? (They are so hardy and persistent that they’ve pushed out some Creeping Charlie!)
David in Ridley Park, PA

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