When we purchased our house, it was winter. Snow covered the ground, and we had no idea what was underneath. The previous owners told us there was a small garden, but we knew nothing of the size or shape, or if there were any perennials.
When the snow melted, we found a rather large plot of strawberries. The garden that was in existence sloped slightly, and the strawberries had been planted on the lower end, in an almost ditch.
As first time home owners, we were delighted to have a little strawberry plot of our own during our first season of gardening at the homestead. We picked every morning and dutifully made jams, syrups, and jellies.
The second year, the patch wasn't as pretty. At the end of the first strawberry season, I just let weeds fill in the plot. There were far fewer strawberries to collect the second year and we ended up purchasing the season's strawberries at a "u-pick" farm.
The third year, I was determined to resolve the situation. I, Tim, and Tim's parents fully weeded the plot, and mulch was added among the plants. I even planted a few additional starts, with the idea that I was going to make hilled rows. It didn't work. The weeds grew among the mulch, the strawberries were few and far between, and by the end of the season, the patch was a sad, weedy mess, and the strawberry plants were barely visible.
Finally, this past year, I was fed up with the strawberry situation. I also knew that strawberry plants need to be replanted every three years, so it was high time that the strawberry plant disaster in the garden was resolved. I had Tim build a few raised boxes, and most all the strawberry plants were transplanted into the new raised beds.
At long last, we have enjoyed a bountiful season of strawberries. We picked a bowl like the size below every day for the past three weeks. We have a bunch frozen for winter, I made strawberry rhubarb jam, and pints were given away to family and friends.
It took me five years to grow a proper strawberry plot. There is no instant gratification with gardening.